Ready In The Rockies

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News August 2018

It took extra time, but the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center and the Denver area's first SCI/D inpatient unit will soon be open for business.

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Anytime Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) National Treasurer Tom Wheaton needs to visit his nearest Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spinal-cord injury (SCI) center for in-depth medical care, he needs to start making serious travel arrangements.

That’s because Wheaton has to get from his home in Golden, Colo., to one of the nearest VA SCI centers in Albuquerque, N.M., Seattle or Long Beach, Calif. However, that travel is about to undergo a big change for Wheaton and hundreds of other veterans with spinal-cord injury and disease (SCI/D) in the Rocky Mountain region. 

Following controversial construction delays and budget overruns, the much-anticipated, state-of-the-art Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora, Colo., is scheduled to open this month. The medical center includes the VA’s first SCI/D unit since 2013 that’s expected to open later this year.

The opening of the center in suburban Denver will be a game changer for the many military veterans living in the region, especially those with SCI/D. Wheaton says this new center can help keep him and other veterans closer to their family and friends while receiving care that can sometimes last months.

“To me, that is the big issue — that the VA finally saw this void in this whole region,” Wheaton says. “To say, ‘Ya’ know, we need to have a new facility here. We need to make sure there’s a 30-bed SCI unit there so that our veterans if they have a difficult pressure sore or infections, they have a place they can come to that will treat them locally.’” 


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Ready In The Rockies


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