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New mental health clinic coming to Hanscom

Posted 1/25/2012   Updated 1/25/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


1/25/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Construction to add a wing onto the existing 66th Medical Squadron clinic will begin this spring. The New England District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded a contract to Watermark Environment Inc., from Lowell, Mass., to design and construct a $2.8 million, 3,860 square feet, one story mental health facility on the northwest corner of the current clinic.
 
The project design process began on Jan. 18 with a design charette involving all stakeholders.

"I'm very excited about this project," said Maj. Aron Potter, Mental Health Flight commander. "The new mental health clinic will be larger and co-located with the main health care clinic on Vandenberg Drive. It will help us better meet the demands of our multi-service force."

Mental health practitioners currently reside in Building 1217, a 50-year-old building that does not meet the space criteria identified by the Department of Defense for mental health clinics. Officials felt it was important to make sure Hanscom could have a facility that meets the standards expected at mental health facilities across the nation.

"Patients seeking mental health services are often stigmatized, especially in the military," stated the construction project data sheet, "and because of this sensitivity, patient privacy is a high priority for the Military Health System. Sharing cramped space in a decrepit building with several non-medical agencies is not conducive to either patient privacy or the overall quality of care."

By co-locating the mental health clinic with the current clinic, officials hope the current stigma of those seeking mental health services will diminish.

"The new facility will improve communication between mental health and primary care providers, increase efficiency, allow room for expansion and provide our beneficiaries an improved environment to receive mental health care," Potter said.

The new facility will feature essential security features, improve patient access, all while enhancing privacy, quality of care and staff productivity.

Completion of the project is scheduled for January 2013.



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