VA Hospital Expansion To Focus On Oncology Unit

Of the four phases, there's concern with limited space in oncology wing

Construction of the Primary Care addition on the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Sioux Falls is nearly complete, and expected to be open in October. However, other phases of the project are far from finished, and it’s affecting patient care.

“My biggest limiting factor for care, is space,” said VA Health Care System Director, Darwin Goodspeed.

The VA Hospital treats more than 27,000 patients in east river every year, and the number of patients continues to rise. So, the need to expand the current building for more care comes with a price tag of $20 million.

“We’re doing some expansion, specifically to add square footage to our clinical spaces so that we can have more space available to see more veterans – more patient care.”

Construction began more than a year ago to add 8,000 square-feet for a physical therapy clinic and 6,000 square-feet for a specialty medicine clinic, but the current focus is on the oncology unit.

“Currently, for oncologists we’ve only had one, but we are growing to two,” said Dr. Jennifer Greco, Chief of Specialty Medicine.

Dr. Greco says that oftentimes doctors have to share the limited space they do have, which can impact the quality of care each patient receives.

“With the new space, everybody should be able to have their own room which will allow more clinic access.”

The 6,000 square-foot, new space will extend off of the current oncology unit; which is adjacent to the specialty medicine clinic. It will feature more exam rooms, outpatient seating, and will even allow space for the emergency room to expand. It’s what Goodspeed describes as important modifications for some of the nation’s greatest heroes.

“All of these renovations are targeting increasing access for veterans,” he added, “we have to make sure we have the space here and the services available to take care of all the health care needs of the veterans of South Dakota.”