The Department of VA (Veterans Affairs) Outpatient Clinic (1273 W. Hobsonway) in Blythe is eyeing an early February timeline to complete repairs following the flooding that occurred over the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
“It’s looking like the earliest we can start doing anything may be next Tuesday,” said Blythe VA Clinic health technician Mark Bolliger in updating when construction repairs might begin at the site. “(Re-opening the actual building) is looking like it’ll be closer to the first week of February.”
As previously reported by the Times, Blythe’s VA staff came in on Dec. 2 to find the site inundated with significant water damage after a weekend downpour.
The location and staff were then moved into an outfitted mobile unit veterans center trailer to meet according needs of area veterans, with an original tentative estimated repair timeframe of a month – which was pending final decisions on how to move forward with repairing the substantial damage and determining respective costs.
“That major downpour, about a week ago, overwhelmed the roof drainage system and flooded inside the building,” said Bolliger following the damage, noting that the facility sees roughly 20-24 appointments a week.
In assessing the situation, appointments for Dec. 2-6 were cancelled by staff and urgent points of contact were reached out to.
“We called up Loma Linda (VA Healthcare System) and went into emergency mode,” stated Bolliger on Dec. 6. “We were able to get this RV, got the whole crew to come out here yesterday (Dec. 5) and get us set up to go this week. Computers, everything (...) It’s not the same office, but accommodates the same thing.”
The flooring was subsequently removed from the location, as well as damaged ceiling panels and about two feet’s worth of drywall from around the entire site’s interior.
One room, which sustained the most damage, had two walls and insulation removed.
“There were some of the structures for the ceiling panels that got bent under the weight, so they may have to replace some of the metal framing that holds that,” noted Bolliger. “Everybody that’s been involved has taken care of us really well. Just hope our patients can be patient; it’s a tough spot. But we just want to also let the community know that the VA cares about its veterans; that the VA Loma Linda cares about its patients out here and were able to get this system up within about a 72-hour period.”
The local Blythe VA clinic team provides primary care, mental health tele-services, pre-and-post procedure preparation, follow-ups, answer encompassing questions, and more to area veterans.
For any questions or inquiries, call: (760) 921-1224. The Blythe VA Clinic’s regular hours of operation remain Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.