Plans to reopen an emergency room that closed in 2014 have been scrapped in favor of expanding the hours of a nearby urgent care center in Spokane, WA. Administrators at the Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Affairs Medical Center haven’t hired enough physicians to staff the ED, so rather than delay further or try to get by on insufficient staffing, the plan is to keep the urgent care center open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its current hours are 8 am to 6 pm, daily. Officials attribute both the state of the ED and the viability of the urgent care options to the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to choose private doctors over VA hospital providers. Under Choice, many veterans are finding they can get quality care much faster and closer to home than they would if they were forced to be treated only at VA medical centers, so the volume at the medical centers is dwindling.
Spokane VA Opts to Expand Urgent Care Hours Instead of Reopening ED