NORTH HILLS : VA Begins Work on Outpatient Center


The Sepulveda Veterans Administration Medical Center broke ground Friday on a modern outpatient treatment facility.

With completion scheduled for August, 1996, the 238,000-square-foot facility will provide a range of services to veterans suffering minor and serious ailments. Once finished, the new facility will signal the transition of the hospital to one that focuses exclusively on outpatient treatments.

The move was prompted by more than $100 million in damage the hospital sustained during the Northridge earthquake. During the quake, the 431-bed hospital was severely damaged, forcing staff to transfer more than 300 patients to several other VA facilities in Southern California.


The new format will allow patients to go home after treatment, which increases the hospital’s efficiency and patients’ comfort, hospital administrators said.

“The majority of VA (treatment) can be done in an ambulatory setting,” said Sepulveda director Perry C. Norman. By changing to an outpatient format, “we will have the flexibility to treat more patients than we were treating before the quake.”

With current patient levels at about 215,000 a year, the hospital anticipates treating more than 300,000 veterans annually after the new Ambulatory Care Center is finished.

“This center represents a rebirth at our hospital, where we are able to centralize many of our services scattered about our (grounds) because of the quake and continue our goal to serve as many people as possible,” Norman said.

Services at the new facility will include primary care clinics, psychiatric treatment, neurology, stroke rehabilitation and research in geriatric treatment. Also, with three operating rooms, “same day” dermatological surgery and treatment of ruptured hernias will be available at Sepulveda for the first time.