The Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center stands in the thick of the medical complexes running along the eastern end of Archer Road. More than 2,500 veteran patients walk through its doors on an average day, with 2,893 full-time employees and 223 part-time employees caring for them.
The Alachua County Medical Society mission is to promote quality medical care for every resident in the ACMS area and to advocate for the medical profession. The ACMS provides physician members with the following: a referral service, legislative representation, community representation, public relations, continuing medical education programs, networking opportunities, educational dinner meetings, social events, House Calls Magazine, an annual physician’s directory, and a peer review process.
The medical center serves an area stretching from the Panhandle to Jacksonville and from southern Georgia and to just north of Orlando. It is one of the busiest VA medical centers in the country. The VA’s presence in Alachua County includes 30 locations for clinics and offices. Its Honors Center, located in east Gainesville, provides services for homeless veterans, including job and life skills training.
In 2012, it added a new 226-bed tower to handle the growing demand – spurred by veterans moving the Southern US and those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2014, The Fisher House, located near the medical center, opened as a “home away from home” for families of veterans receiving care. This comfortable lodging, operated by the Fisher House Foundation, is available at no charge to families.
The new tower supplements the original five-story medical tower, which opened in 1967 as part of the Veterans Administration’s move to place centers in cities with medical teaching hospitals. The medical center provides training for medical students at the University of Florida, along with clinical experience for nurses and other students from UF and Santa Fe College. The North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System also operates the Lake City VA Medical Center and clinics through its service area.
Among the medical center’s innovative programs are the Virtual Environments for Therapeutic Solutions (VETS) program operated by Dr. Charles Levy, chief of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service. In 2015, Levy was honored nationally by receiving the Paul B. Magnuson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rehabilitation Research and Development. The award recognized the online virtual reality grocery store (V-Mart) Levy developed to help therapists assess and treat veterans with problems in memory, concentration and emotional control re-enter civilian life. The therapist chooses store challenges, from simple item selection and price and nutritional comparisons to more difficult challenges such as dealing with a rude cashier or an in-store collision.