BAY PINES, FL – The C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, part of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS), has been selected as one of 14 VA facilities to receive a Fisher House to help care for Veterans, family members and caregivers. The new 16-room facility will be the medical center’s second house and is tentatively scheduled to open in 2019 – an announcement first made by Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS, to a crowd of approximately 2,500 during the annual Bay Pines Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 11, 2016.
The facility is expected to be constructed in close to the existing nine-room Fisher House located on the east side of the medical center campus.
“We are very excited about being selected for a new Fisher House and expanding our existing program here at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center,” said Shentrela Diggins, Fisher House Manager, Bay Pines VAHCS.
“The service our current Fisher House provides is very important for the families of the Veterans we serve across southwest Florida,” she said. “When our second house is complete, we will be able to serve even more families and provide a safe and comfortable environment for them close to their hospitalized loved ones.”
A Fisher House is “a home away from home” for families of Veterans and military service members who receive care at military hospitals and VA medical centers. The houses are donated to the U.S. government by the Fisher House Foundation. The homes give family members an opportunity to be close to their loved ones during hospitalizations by providing comfortable lodging in a calm environment, only steps away from inpatient medical facilities.
Family members and caregivers of Veterans who live 50 miles or more from the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center can stay at the existing Bay Pines Fisher House free of charge with a referral from a Veteran’s respective social worker. Lodging is on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are not accepted. Guests can stay at the house for as long as their loved one is hospitalized or receiving treatment at the medical center. The same criteria will apply when the second house is complete and open to family members.
The current Bay Pines Fisher House is one of about 60 houses located at major military and VA medical centers across the country.
For more information about the Bay Pines Fisher House, please visit www.baypines.va.gov/services/fisherhouse.asp or call Shentrela Diggins, Fisher House Manager, at 727-398-6661 extension 11350.
Members of the local community can be part of the Fisher House mission. The Bay Pines VAHCS Fisher House depends on volunteers and monetary donations from individuals and groups to support its programs. To learn more about how you can help the Fisher House and other VA programs, please visit www.baypines.va.gov/giving/index.asp or call our VA Voluntary Service office at 727-398-9394.
About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 4,000 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is the fourth busiest VA health care system in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring. To learn more, please visit www.baypines.va.gov, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vabaypines, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vabaypines.