A new $10 million emergency department was dedicated today at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System.
Roughly 1,000 veterans a month arrive at the Des Moines facility needing emergency treatment. Dan Gannon chairs the Iowa Commission for Veterans Affairs.
“I think it’s very positive because we feel very strongly here in Iowa about our VA hospital,” Gannon said. “We think it’s one of the best. It’s just another sign of them trying to improve their facility and…that story isn’t always being told.”
The new addition includes a designated space for infectious disease care, decontamination showers, and eight private treatment rooms. Leanne Haiwick will manage 20 emergency room nurses.
“This is a larger space with private rooms. One room is a dedicated mental health observation room, so it’s a safe space for anybody who’s undergoing a mental health crisis,” Haiwick said.
The Des Moines VA facility treats an average of 33 emergency patients a day.
(Reporting and photo: Rick Fredricksen, Iowa Public Radio)