Fayetteville VA Medical Center to mark 75th anniversary

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Observance activities and a reception to mark Fayetteville VA Medical Center’s 75th anniversary are set to take place on the main campus at 2300 Ramsey Street, in Fayetteville, Tuesday (Oct. 13) from 3 to 5 p.m. The theme: “75 Years of Serving Our Veterans – Past, Present, Future.”

Activities will include proclamations from the State of North Carolina, City of Fayetteville and Womack Army Medical Center; remarks from Medical Center Director Elizabeth Goolsby and keynote speaker area historian Bruce Daws; a commemorative tree planting, patriotic music and light refreshments. The event is open to the public.

“Seventy five years after our auspicious beginning, Fayetteville VA Medical Center is proudly upholding our tradition of providing quality health care to southeastern North Carolina Veterans, using the most technically advanced techniques and equipment available,” said Director Goolsby.

On October 17, 1940, with much pomp and circumstance, Col. George E. Ijams, assistant administrator of the Veterans Administration, dedicated the Fayetteville NC Veterans Administration Hospital, ushering in a new era of caring for North Carolina’s Veterans.

In the preceding years, a Veterans Administration subcommittee visited more than 30 North Carolina cities before selecting Fayetteville in 1938 as the site for a new veterans hospital. Influenced no doubt by the proximity of Fort Bragg.

Co-located on the Fayetteville campus with the 307-bed general medical and surgical hospital were the regional offices of the VA, previously located in Charlotte.

Constructed by N.P. Severin and Company of Chicago, the hospital cost more than $1 million and was described in newspaper accounts of day as “the most modern hospital in America.”

The 1940 newspaper article also stated, “Altogether Fayetteville is prouder of its new Veterans Facility and its acquisition than of anything else that has come its way in half a century.”

The hospital began receiving patients on November 22, 1940, the first of whom was Virginia native Auburn Frank Salley, a veteran of the Philippine-American War.

More than 2,100 Veterans were admitted to the hospital in its first year of operation.

Today, the Fayetteville VA Medical Center is a 60-bed general medicine, surgery and mental health facility. The medical center also maintains a 69-bed long-term care Community Living Center (CLC) to care for Veteran residents. Our CLC serves as host to the North Carolina State Veterans Home, a 150-bed long-term nursing home facility adjacent to campus.

The Fayetteville VA enterprise comprises the medical center, a Health Care Center (HCC) in Wilmington, Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Jacksonville, Hamlet, Robeson and Goldsboro, temporary CBOCs in Fayetteville and Jacksonville, as well as a an additional offsite primary care clinic (Village Green Annex) and a stand-alone dialysis center, also in Fayetteville.

Our catchment area spans 19 counties in Southeastern North Carolina and 2 counties in Northeastern South Carolina and includes Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

In FY 15, 65,000+ patients, representing 575,000+ outpatient visits, received care.

A future as bright as our past is on the horizon as in November we begin operations at our 250,000-square-foot Fayetteville VA Health Care Center, culminating the efforts of community and federal entities to bring health care services to our veterans in a visually appealing, highly functional, intelligently designed modern setting.

The HCC will house most of the outpatient services formerly located on at our main campus and two offsite clinics in Fayetteville. This includes primary care, mental health, outpatient specialty care and an ambulatory surgery center.

The medical center will be used for inpatient services, an Urgent Care Center and some limited outpatient services such as dental and oncology. The movement of the outpatient services to the health care center paves the way for renovations at the Ramsey Street site and expansion of specialty services.

“While much has changed since the historic grand opening in 1940, health technology, the Veteran population, and even patient room configurations, some things have remained constant. Our multi-disciplinary medical center staff’s commitment to caring for Veterans and providing them with world-class health care remains unchanged,” Director Goolsby said.