The new Veterans Affairs clinic in Great Falls is gearing up to open next week in a new location with double the capacity of the old one. The biggest thing veterans will probably notice when they come in is how efficient the new process will be. The new space is located at 1400 29th Street South, Suite #1.
Once completed, the new clinic will be the first of its kind in Montana, using the PACT model, which stands for Patient Aligned Care Team. Essentially, veterans will stay in the same room and a special team of staff will come to them based on their needs.
"The nurse will check the veteran in, do their vitals, then you have the provider who will then come in, see the veteran for their care and then anything that's identified, say, for example, medication management, we have a pharmacist on that PACT team,” said Christina Lundstrom, Congressional liaison for the Montana VA Health Care System. “If somebody needs to see a mental health provider at that time, we have somebody available right there that can see that veteran in that room.”
Since the new clinic is bigger, each provider now has two exam rooms, so one PACT team can help multiple vets at once.
"So it makes it more efficient that you can essentially, when the nurse is checking in one veteran, the provider is seeing the other veteran, and you can move patients through the clinic much more efficiently,” Lundstrom said.
Plus, the space is just easier to get around.
"At our previous facility, we were spaced out on two different floors and patients would have to go from one floor to the other. And especially for our older patients with mobility issues, that could be a big deal for them,” nurse practitioner Jason Gleason said. "And so being all in one place, in one space, on one floor is going to be so efficient for our patients and we've already heard from our veterans, they are so excited to come to this new facility that we built for them."
While the Great Falls location is the first Montana VA site to implement the PACT model, future remodels or new clinics across the state will see it as well.
The clinic opens Monday, July 27, and there will be a grand opening event on July 31 at 11 a.m.