Washington State University and its health sciences campus in Spokane announced today the next milestone in their partnership with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center as the VA becomes the newest occupant in WSU’s Spokane Teaching Health Center (STHC).

The VA will establish occupancy in STHC in fall 2020 with an outpatient primary clinic and two patient aligned care teams (PACTs).

“This collaboration allows for an additional, convenient location for the VA to continue providing quality care to veterans, while allowing future health care professionals the opportunity to train alongside VA experts,” said Daryll DeWald, vice president and chancellor for WSU Health Sciences.

The project is one of only two demonstration sites nationally approved by VA Secretary Robert Wilke to evaluate how academic communities can help to enhance health care for veterans.

“The need to expand medical education in eastern Washington is accelerating our need to acquire space to further VA’s traditional role in medical teaching while providing high-quality care to veterans. There is true innovation and commitment at the heart of this shared exploration to utilize PACTs in providing primary care to Veteran beneficiaries within a learning environment,” said Dr. Robert Fischer, M.D., director for the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

STHC is located on the WSU Health Sciences campus, which currently houses WSU’s colleges of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, creating synergies and training opportunities to all academic affiliates in a team-based environment.

PACTs are the cornerstone of the VA’s new Models of Care Initiative, intended to transform the way veterans receive care. It is built on the well-known concept of the patient-centered medical home, staffed by high-functioning teams. The new demonstration project in Spokane allows WSU Health Sciences’ learners and others to participate as part of the PACT team.

“STHC offers an ideal solution for a demonstration project to showcase partnership between an outstanding institution of higher education and a vital care resource for this community’s heroes,” said Spokane Teaching Health Center Executive Director Traci Couture.

STHC is a 501c nonprofit organization formed in 2013 to capitalize on possibilities provided by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant to expand primary care residency positions. The clinic is the fully accredited institutional sponsor of Family Medicine Residency Spokane and its rural training track. It is also a clinical site for Spokane medical residency programs and a rotation site for health students, including those at WSU Health Sciences Spokane and Eastern Washington University.

Beyond their collaboration at STHC, longer term, the VA and WSU Health Sciences look forward to collaboration on:

  • Establishing joint residency programs
  • Generating clinical care programs
  • Bolstering team-based health care delivery
  • Meeting infrastructure needs and the goals of both institutions

Concluded DeWald, “Ultimately, the goal is to combine teaching, clinical service, safe patient care, and research to create a regional foundation for advanced education of the highest quality.”

In addition to its new STHC outpatient location, Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center continues to operate 46 hospital beds and 38 rehabilitation and hospice beds at its primary northside location, where it focuses on primary and secondary care, with an emphasis on preventative health and chronic disease management.