December 17, 2010


VA combines veterans clinics into Dryden site

New outpatient clinic will open Feb. 1, replacing Cortland and Ithaca clinics

ClinicBob Ellis/staff photographer
Tylor McVey, right, and Tyler Royce, of Comfort Systems USA in East Syracuse, install exhaust fans Wednesday inside a new Veterans Affairs clinic on Route 13 in the town of Dryden.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — The U.S. Veterans Affairs is opening an outpatient clinic in Dryden, starting Feb. 1, replacing clinics in Cortlandville and Ithaca.
The new clinic will be situated in a former insurance company building near the NYSEG building on Route 13, almost across the road from the Sunoco station.
The outpatient services will be operated by Charles Robbins Associates, which is taking over from Cayuga Medical Center.
Military veterans previously used clinics operated by Cayuga Medical Center off Hanshaw Road in Ithaca and on Route 281 in Cortlandville, which both served other kinds of patients as well.
This clinic will serve only veterans and will have space for expansion, said Richard Kazel, manager of medical and surgical services for the seven clinics in the Syracuse hospital’s region.
This clinic has about 5,500 square feet of space, currently being renovated by CR Associates, which hired Syracuse-based Hayner Hoyt as the general contractor.
Workers gutted the building and have put up new walls to form offices and examining rooms.
The Dryden clinic is seeking 25 volunteer drivers for its vans, for patients who cannot use TCAT or Cortland Transit. TCAT buses will stop at the facility en route between Ithaca and Dryden, while Cortland Transit buses go no farther than the village of Dryden.
“Many of the patients are elderly or can’t drive anymore,” Kazel said, “so we really need drivers.”
Kazel said demand had outgrown the two clinics, with 950 veterans using the Ithaca location and 1,200 using the one in Cortlandville.
Cayuga Medical Center, which had the VA contract for 10 years, did not offer a bid when the contract ended this fall.
Neither clinic location served exclusively veterans. This clinic will.
CR Associates submitted the winning bid, in a competitive bidding situation, for a five-year contract. There were three bidders.
The winning bid was for $7,636,635 for five years, with $1,445,860 for the first year.
CR Associates is based in Newington, Va., and operates facilities in 21 states and four other nations.
“Cayuga Medical Center has done a great job, running the clinic for 10 years, but they did not submit a bid,” Kazel said. “CR Associates is a national company. They manage our clinic in Oswego and do a good job.”
Cayuga Medical Center officials did return a phone call seeking comment.
The clinic will offer diagnostic and follow-up care, while primary care and other medical services will still be conducted at the VA hospital in Syracuse.
Kazel and Gordon Sclar, public relations officer for the VA Hospital, said the medical and nursing staff who worked with veterans at the previous two locations will be moving to the new location.
“These are people the veterans are comfortable with,” Kazel said.
The new clinic will have electronic medical records for the veterans.
Most patients will come from Cortland and Tompkins counties, Sclar said, but some could come from southern Cayuga County, Tioga County or northern Broome County.
The other outpatient clinics for the Syracuse hospital’s region are located in Oswego, Auburn, Watertown, Binghamton, Massena and Rome.
Anyone interested in driving veterans to the clinic can call Bill Gleason at 315-425-6750 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.


To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe