FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE VETERANS NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH CENTER?
VNRC will utilize state-of-the-art technology to collect data on those who have been diagnosed with dementia, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other debilitating conditions. The data collected from participants will be used to facilitate research that will be invested into the development of cures and treatments.
HOW MANY PATIENTS WILL THE CENTER ACCOMMODATE?
The Center will have 300 beds for dementia and 210 Extended Stay units for families dealing with Traumatic Brain Injuries.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL THE CENTER EMPLOY AND WHAT KIND OF JOBS WILL BE CREATED WHEN IT OPENS?
The Center will employ over 400 people when fully staffed. The jobs created will run the gamut from physicians, nurses, and other healthcare positions to researchers, laboratory and IT personnel, food handlers, therapists, maintenance workers, activity coordinators, office and support staffers. In addition, the Center will provide job training and experience for people seeking careers in healthcare, business management, facilities management, engineering, statistical analysis, and culinary services.
HOW WILL THIS PROJECT BE FUNDED?
The VNRC is a partnership between Medical Management Group and Cocopah Enterprises LLC. Funds for the project will come from investment banking. The cost to build the Center will be over $32 million.
WHEN WILL CONSTRUCTION BEGIN AND WHEN WILL THE CENTER BE FINISHED?
The project has been in preliminary design for 9 months. Construction on the old Kmart building is expected to start in June 2021 and will take approximately 14 months to complete. During that time it will employ approximately 240 construction workers.
HOW DOES THE CENTER DIFFER FROM OTHER NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH/CARE FACILITIES?
The VNRC care portion will consist of numerous distinct "villages". One of these villages will recreate the architecture of the past in order to create a sense of comfort and familiarity for those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. This village will feature common storefronts you find in the average American town (e.g., post office, candy store, etc.) The other villages will consist of modern classrooms, living spaces, and recreation areas. In addition, the Center will be a self-contained, climate-controlled environment that can replicate a typical day, setting the time when daylight and nightfall begin. The purpose for this is to abate what is known as "Sundowners Syndrome", which is defined as: "the onset of confusion and agitation that generally affects people with dementia or cognitive impairment and usually strikes around sunset" (caring.com). The research into TBI will be to identify in young veterans returning from deployment the changes occurring in the brain. These changes, which can cause strokes and early dementia, will assist researchers in developing new treatments. This will then be used to help improve lives of stroke patients, dementia and Alzheimer's.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER FACILITIES LIKE THIS?
This village concept will be the first of its kind in the United States on such a scale. The only other care facility like this is located in the Netherlands. The present VA TBI programs have limited inpatient space. This facility will deal with the whole family while helping them on a career path. The young vets and/or spouse will be enrolled in an online degree program and allowed to job train at the facility.
QUESTIONS FROM THE VA ABOUT
VETERAN'S NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH CENTER
WHAT IS THE PROPOSED INNOVATION, EMERGING THERAPY, OR REQUEST?
Our goal is to provide veterans inflicted with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), a family environment to heal, while simultaneously offering the ability to train for a civilian career. While the veteran with TBI is recovering, we will gather intensive data that could be used throughout the individual's life for research into potential associated neurological problems. We plan on accomplishing this goal by purchasing and reconstructing an empty Super K-Mart building to provide medical offices and housing for Alzheimer's patients.
HOW WILL THIS INNOVATION OR EMERGING THERAPY ENHANCE VETERANS PHYSICAL AND/OR MENTAL HEALTH?
We believe that the combination of physical rehabilitation, career training, and living in a family environment, will enhance the veterans physical and mental health by demonstrating a path to a productive future by creating an optimistic outlook for both the veteran and their family. We also believe that intensive data collection on young healthy veterans will lead to neurological discoveries in later years.
IS THERE ANY EXISTING EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE EFFICACY OF THIS INNOVATION/REQUEST?
To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to involve the treatment of TBI's by retraining of the veteran in a family environment. We believe that we are also the first to study those with Alzheimer's in a closed environment utilizing data collected from veterans of younger ages.
IS THERE ANY EXISTING EVIDENCE, RELATIVE TO VETERANS, REGARDING THIS INNOVATION / EMERGING THERAPY (E.G., ANECDOTAL, SCIENTIFIC STUDIES, TESTIMONY)?
We have no knowledge that this approach has been studied.
IS THERE EVIDENCE OF ANY POTENTIAL RISK OR HARM?
There is no evidence of any potential risk or harm.
WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU ASKING FROM THE VA?
We are asking for a contract to provide for the care, treatment and retraining of the veterans with TBI. In this contract, we will provide the ability to follow treatment protocols as designed by the VA. We are very interested in providing our veterans with a path to physical, and mental recovery and will adapt our plan as the Medical community identifies new and more productive treatments.
DO YOU HAVE A PROPOSED SOURCE OF FUNDING OR SUPPORT?
We are currently canvassing private placement funds and nongovernmental funding.
IS THIS INNOVATION SIMILAR TO OR DUPLICATE ANY EXISTING VA PROGRAM OR SERVICE?
We know of no existing VA Center that will incorporate the scope of care for the veteran with TBI and their family, retraining of the individual, collection of data from the initial age, and an Alzheimer's residence and treatment facility.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SERVING VETERANS LIVING IN A SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC ARE, SPECIFIC AGE GROUP, OR OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTIC?
This facility will have the capacity to house 300 veterans with families in modern apartments, and the Alzheimer's facility is designed to house over 300 patients in a retro-village designed to provide security, a familiar safe environment, and the ability to collect data for medical study. This facility will be designed to handle individuals from all regions and age demographics.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU AND YOUR TEAM BRING TO THE TABLE AND HOW CAN WE ASSIST?
We bring the private sector to the table which will provide the ability to implement new and creative care in a timely fashion. We need your assistance in providing us the lessons that you have already learned, and by providing us a contract to assist you in helping our veterans return to a productive life.