Healthcare for Veterans

Local clinic planned


Establishing a veteran's healthcare clinic in Craig has long been the goal for Bill Harding with the Veteran's Service Office. The only thing missing now is a building to house the clinic.

"We're looking for 2,000 square feet of donated or leased space," he said. "It must be ground level and handicapped assessable."


A town hall meeting Friday at the American Legion Post in Craig will discuss the future of the clinic and will include personnel from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction to answer questions.

A clinic located in Craig would mean fewer monthly trips to Grand Junction offered by the VSO and less travel for veterans in Northwest Colorado seeking medical care.

Plans are to have the Craig location become a Telehealth Clinic, staffed by a nurse who is linked by telephone to a doctor in Grand Junction. If the test study program is successful in Craig, other Telehealth Clinics may be established across the United States, Harding said.

"We have had some interest from a local clinic and the hospital as sites for the Telehealth Clinic," he said. "Also the nursing program at Colorado Northwestern Community Coll--ege has inquired about having students intern with the program. It may not all happen, but it's on the table at this point."

Harding is currently working toward staffing the clinic part-time five days a week. He hopes nurses will be able to administer shots, blood tests and write prescriptions with the doctor's supervision.

Larger healthcare needs will be met by specialty clinics in Denver, Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, Harding said, with emergency care at The Memorial Hospital through the Veterans Administration for eligible veterans.

Harding hopes fewer trips to Grand Junction for healthcare might allow the VSO to pick up veterans from south Routt County, Meeker or Baggs, Wyo., for care at the Craig clinic.

Veterans living within 70 to 100 miles of Craig are encouraged to register with the Veterans Service Office in Craig for healthcare services.

"Any veteran not signed up for VA healthcare needs to get enrolled as soon as possible," Harding said.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or

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