VA selects San Joaquin County for new health-care site

San Joaquin County has been chosen for a 120-bed nursing home and outpatient medical clinic to serve Central Valley military veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced today.

The federal department passed over Stanislaus County in its effort to relocate the remaining health-care facilities from the Livermore Veterans Hospital. The new facilities in San Joaquin County will bring long-term care and medical specialty services closer to the 80,000 veterans living in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, said Kerri Childress, a VA spokeswoman.

The Department of Veterans Affairs considered all four of the counties for the $253 million health center, including an offer of 15 acres of donated county land near the public safety center at Service and Crows Landing roads south of Modesto.

Consultants are now considering two or three different sites in San Joaquin County; a decision is expected this summer on where to build the nursing home and clinic. One site under consideration is near the San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp.

The VA is shooting to complete the valley health center in 2015 but is promising expanded health care for Stanislaus County veterans much sooner.

Childress said that officials are in the process of doubling the size of the Modesto VA clinic with additional mental health and primary care services.

"We hope to have that completed by the end of this year," Childress said.