Vet clinic finds success in first 100 days

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At a glance

• Tuesday marks new veteran clinic's first 100 days

• Feedback has been "mostly positive," clinic manager says

• Clinic serving 125 to 150 patients

• Manager expects "many more" in the next 100 days

— Tuesday marked more than the beginning of a new year for the Craig Community VA Telehealth Clinic - it also marked the clinic's first 100 days of operation.

"I think it's been successful," clinic manager Dave Newman said. "Obviously there's room to improve.

"As a new clinic, we've had some obstacles to overcome, but the feedback has been mostly positive."

Years of work to found a health care clinic in Craig for Northwest Colorado veterans paid off in September 2007 when the new clinic, 551 Tucker St., opened for business. The clinic serves male and female patients.

It features technology that allows patients to consult via video conference with physicians in Grand Junction, thus being a more convenient option than making the long drive there for treatment.

Newman said the clinic currently serves about 125 to 150 patients, and that he expects "many more" in the next 100 days of operation. He said he thinks anywhere from 400 to 600 veterans will be using the clinic by summer.

Bill Harding, Moffat County Veterans Service Officer, said the clinic has been largely well received by local veterans using the service. However, the clinic hasn't necessarily relieved the need to transport veterans out of town for medical treatment.

He said his office has had no drop off in requests for transport, and is averaging about 10 trips per month, mostly to Grand Junction, for veterans to receive treatment they can't find locally. About 12 to 18 veterans need to go out of town each month, Harding said.

"Based on some guys' medical condition, it's better for them to go to Grand Junction where they can see a specialist," or obtain treatment not offered by the clinic, Harding said.

The Veterans Service Office also helps veterans coordinate trips to Denver, Sheridan, Wyo., and Salt Lake City for medical care, Harding said. The trips are funded by the county, grant allocations and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Still, the clinic's presence is a welcome addition, Harding said. The clinic, combined with the option to go out of town means "most veterans are being served," he said.

The Craig Community VA Telehealth Clinic is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, call 866-206-6415, ext. 2778.

Comments

Gulf_Vet 6 years, 11 months ago

A large part of what has and what will continue to make the Telehealth clinic a success is Mr. Newman. He is a vet himself, a decorated combat vet, and he really does care about other vets. The VA, for once, hired somebody who is concerned about providing help and service to veterans. They didn't hire another non-vet "bean counter" type that doesn't give a damn about vets. The veterans community in Craig really caught a "good bounce" this time. We've got one of us looking out for us.

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