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VA Puget Sound to close Chehalis outpatient clinic, welcoming Veterans to its new Olympia clinic


August 27, 2021

Seattle , WA — VA Puget Sound Health Care System announced today it will close its contract-operated South Sound/Chehalis Community Based Outpatient Clinic October 31, 2021, welcoming Chehalis enrollees to its new VA-operated Olympia clinic that opened its doors to patients August 16, 2021.

VA Puget Sound has a responsibility to both the Veterans it cares for and to taxpayers who fund that care. This move will not only reduce the cost to taxpayers, it will expand the number of Veterans residing in Mason, Pierce and Thurston counties able to get their care at the new VA Puget Sound Olympia clinic—not only the approximately 3,500 enrolled Chehalis patients, but for an additional 2,000 more from the Olympia area.

“This move, in combination with VA Puget Sound’s new VA-operated clinics in Edmonds, Olympia, Puyallup and our anticipated $4.6 million, 26,000 sq. ft. clinic in Everett in mid-2022, on the heels of our Silverdale clinic and Community and Resource Referral Centers openings in 2019, are all part our larger system redesign to better serve Western Washington,” said VA Puget Sound Health Care System Director Michael Tadych. “VA Puget Sound is also exploring new care sites in the Auburn/Kent and North King County areas. Together, our new clinical footprint will allow VA Puget Sound to directly serve Everett and Olympia, two major metropolitan areas in Western Washington with no VA facilities currently. Additionally, it will create new capacity for our areas of highest growth in South King and Pierce counties as well as provide better outreach to rural Veterans in North King County.”

The new Olympia clinic (located at Memorial Medical Plaza, 500 Lilly Rd. NE, Suite 201, Olympia, WA 98506) will have up to 10 Patient Aligned Care Teams (known as PACTs), supporting approximately 10,000 enrolled Veterans (growth will take place over time, based on patient needs). Across the three new VA operated clinics in Olympia, Edmonds, and Puyallup, that total capacity for enrolled Veterans in that region will increase to approximately 16,000 across those three new care sites alone.

Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions to help Veterans understand the change:

Q: How many Veterans currently receive care at the Chehalis contracted clinics?

A: Approximately 3,500 Veterans are enrolled to primary care at VA Puget Sound’s South Sound/Chehalis clinic.

Q: How many Veterans are within the required 30-minute drive-time?

A: Of the 3,500 patients enrolled at the Chehalis clinic, approximately 2,000 are within the 30-minute drive-time.

Q: What’s going to happen to the 1,500 who live outside the 30-minute drive-time?

A: For Veterans unable to be treated virtually or at the Olympia location, VA Puget Sound will work with them individually to meet their care needs.

Additionally, virtual care either by phone or through a smart device is effective for over 50 percent of visits. Veterans who do not have smart devices or a wireless connection can request devices from the VA. This allows care to occur from locations convenient to Veterans.

Q: How and when were Veterans notified of this change?

A: Notification to Veterans enrolled in the South Sound Clinic in Chehalis took place by email on July 28, 2021 and mailed letters August 6, 2021.

Q: What’s being done to address the lack of available Community Care Network providers in the South Sound area?

A: The process of getting providers added to the Community Care Network is the responsibility of VA’s regional contract administrators. For VA Puget Sound, it is TriWest. We continue to make suggestions to them about the shortages in more rural areas. Unfortunately, the implementation of the new Community Care Network in August 2020 led to the additional challenges of providers who were previously enrolled under the CHOICE program (MISSION Act replaced CHOICE) declining to enroll in the new network which has also contributed to gaps in the network in areas with the most need.

Q: When VA Puget Sound announced in December 2020 the opening of its new clinics in Edmonds, Puyallup, and Olympia, it stated that it would initially enroll 4,060 Veterans at the Olympia site. How will it accommodate the Chehalis enrollees?

A: In December 2020, VA Puget Sound announced that the Olympia clinic, when opened, would support approximately 4,060 Veterans initially, with the ability to expand the clinic to feature up to 10 Patient Aligned Care Teams to support approximately 10,000 Veterans. This forward planning is allowing VA Puget Sound to achieve that expansion before the closure of the Chehalis clinic. VA Puget Sound is essentially doubling its staff in the new Olympia clinic to support a smooth transition of care.

Q: Where is the Olympia clinic located?

A: The new 9,739 sq. ft. VA Olympia clinic is located at the Memorial Medical Plaza, 500 Lilly Rd. NE, Suite 201 , Olympia, WA 98506.

Q: How can I contact the Olympia clinic team?

A: The Chehalis clinic will continue to see Veterans through October 31, 2021. On November 1, 2021, Veterans who were reassigned to get primary care at the new Olympia clinic can contact their Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) directly by calling 253-583-2621, using My HealtheVet or contacting VA Puget Sound’s call center at 253-582-8440, extension 71234 (press #1 for primary care).

Q: The Lewis County Veterans Relief Fund has a contract to be able to provide transportation for appointments. But that is going to be full very quickly. Is the Olympia clinic going to be able to provide proper and timely care for Thurston and Lewis County?

A: VA Puget Sound provides transportation services to VA appointments for eligible Veterans living in our service area which includes Olympia. Veterans may access the VA Transportation program through their VA provider or by calling VA Puget Sound’s Travel office at 206-764-2120.  

Q: Is the Olympia clinic going to be able to provide proper and timely care for Thurston and Lewis County?

A: VA Puget Sound’s Olympia clinic, which began caring for patients August 16, 2021, has expanded its primary care teams to provide timely care to all its patients, including those enrolled at the Chehalis clinic closing after October 31, 2021. Current appointment availability for enrolled Veterans is within 15 days. If the Olympia Clinic is outside the drive time criteria under the MISSION Act, VA Puget Sound will work with the Veterans on individual care plans that may be more convenient.  

Q: What will happen with the Chehalis staff?

A: Chehalis clinic employees are currently employed by the contractor. All new positions will be posted on USA Jobs and open to all existing VA employees and all U.S. citizens. We continue to support Sterling to successfully complete the contract and serve our Veterans through October 31, 2021.


VA Puget Sound has experienced a 60 percent growth in unique population in last 10 years while space essentially remained unchanged. To address the space constraints and better serve Veterans where they are geographically located, it continues with facility renovations and new construction projects across its catchment area—$121 million Mental Health and Research Building in Seattle (March 2019); $9.7 million, 15,000-square-foot Silverdale clinic (December 2019) that replaced its clinic in Bremerton; and $4.3 million, 14,000 sq. ft. Community Resource and Referral Center in Georgetown (December 2019). Additionally, it continues renovations to its American Lake campus to support expanded primary care, while optimizing its specialty care programs and services.

Patients interested in seeking care at the Olympia clinic should call 253-583-2621 or 800-329-8387.

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 155,000 Veterans across the Pacific Northwest—approximately 110,000 are enrolled with a primary care team at one of its 10 care sites. As the VA’s 5th largest research program, VA Puget Sound has research in virtually every major clinical department, including: TBI and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer's Disease; PTSD and deployment health; Parkinson’s Disease; diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; genomics; and Health Services. Additionally, it has seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). For more information visit

Media contacts

Tami Begasse, Public Affairs Officer


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