VA New Orleans Replacement Medical Center Opens for Patient Care

December 05, 2016
The Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System's new medical center, a 1.7 million-square-foot facility that replaces critical medical infrastructure irreparably damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, began intensive activation of all of its outpatient services today. Constructed by Clark/McCarthy Healthcare Partners (CMHP), a joint venture of Clark Construction Group, LLC, and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., with local partners Landis Construction and Woodward Design+Build, the new VA Veterans medical center will deliver patient-centered care to serve Veterans’ changing medical, surgical and quality-of-life needs. 
 
Located on a 34-acre campus adjacent to the new University Medical Center New Orleans, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, and Tulane Medical Center, the new VA Veterans medical center is part of an expanding medical district on the edge of the central business district in New Orleans.
 
The unified nine-building campus encompasses the restored, historic Pan-American Life building, which now serves as the administrative building for VA, and construction of a new diagnostic & treatment building, inpatient building, outpatient building, transitional living facility, central energy plant, patient parking garage and staff parking garage. In 2017, the CMHP team will complete construction of the ninth building, a new research facility which incorporates the historic Dixie Brewery building.
 
A central concourse organizes the campus, linking atriums that open into large program blocks subdivided into smaller buildings and separated by green courtyards that resemble the gardens of the French Quarter. In total, the new campus houses 200 inpatient beds, 370 outpatient exam rooms, 21 procedural suites, 8 operating rooms, ambulatory clinics, emergency and imaging departments, mental health services, patient education facilities and outpatient rehabilitation services. The institution’s educational mission is advanced through state-of-the-art technology, including smart classrooms and conference rooms, integrated cameras in the operating rooms, robotic surgery and wireless technology.
 
Designed and constructed for maximum resiliency, the facility can remain fully operational during a major storm or natural disaster, with enough provisions and accommodations for up to 1,000 staff and patients for five days. Critical healthcare functions, including the emergency room, are located at least 21 feet above the base flood elevation, and travel from building to building can take place entirely indoors. The campus also features an emergency transport heliport and boat dock and is designed with a full backup power system and the capacity to handle double inpatient occupancy in times of disaster.
 
“As a civil engineer, I can see that this medical center has been designed and constructed to serve as a model for health care of the future and set the standards for patient-centered care,” said SLVHCS Medical Center Director Fernando O. Rivera, FACHE. “In a ribbon cutting November 18, we celebrated serving Veterans and expanding our services by using a state-of-the-art Veterans medical center. This event is a major step in giving Veterans back the medical center they have earned and deserve as we work toward seeing outpatients daily at the new facility beginning December 5.”
 
The project architect is STUDIO NOVA, a joint venture of NBBJ, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, and Rozas Ward Architects.
 
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