Bill Harding: Location, details of Telehealth Clinic announced |

Bill Harding: Location, details of Telehealth Clinic announced

Bill Harding

— A simple truth

This short statement is being forwarded to a lot of people on the Internet. If you have yet to see it, here it is: “A veteran – whether active duty, retired, National Guard or reserve – is someone, at one point in his/her life, who wrote a blank check payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”

That is honor, and there are too many people in this country who no longer understand it. The author is unknown.

Craig Veteran Telehealth Clinic

The VAMC Grand Junction met with local healthcare providers Friday and gave a presentation on the new vet clinic in Craig. The local doctors and clinics were provided with facts and so as I promised, here is the real skinny.

The Craig Telehealth Clinic will be located at 551 Tucker St. across the street from the Bank of the West parking lot. It was the former dental office of Dr. Dushan Voyich.

Dr. Susanne Feller and Debbra Nicholas-Olson introduced Robbie Frentress as the locally hired RN for the site.

Robbie is currently attending VAMC training. The other RN who will staff the facility is David Newman, who comes from the Sheridan, Wyo., VAMC clinic and has served as the nurse on duty for several years.

Our clinic will have a blend of local community/people knowledge along with the knowledge of VA medical procedures/intake from Dave’s background.

The local clinic will be assigned the new “Emerald Team” status, so if the vet has never been seen at the Grand Junction, Denver or Wyoming facilities, they will be assigned to the new primary-care provider of Bart Taylor, P.A., who will be stationed in Grand Junction.

With their scheduled appointment in Craig, Taylor will be in the teleconferencing center in Grand Junction at the same time.

Taylor will be working with internist Dr. John Hunter, who is also stationed in Grand Junction.

The RN on duty in Craig will perform the standard intake procedures and then the vet will discuss issues with Taylor over the communication link.

The clinic will be open in the afternoons, Monday through Friday, by appointment only. There will be no walk-ins. This is not an emergency facility either. If you are in a serious health crisis, i.e. heart attack, severe injury or accident, etc., you must seek care at the nearest ER facility.

We are updating the local The Memorial Hospital ER medical intake forms to include “Are you a veteran currently receiving VA healthcare?” If the answer is “Yes,” then the VA Medical Authorization number in Fort Harrison, Mont., will be called in the required time period to allow for VA reimbursement and/or payment of treatment.

That reimbursement is dependant on your eligibility status in the VA system. It is not automatic nor a set payment. That toll-free phone number for your records is 1-888-795-0773. The standard number is 1-406-442-6410.

The Craig Telehealth Clinic will be a community partnership with the VA and local healthcare providers. The VA system is almost like an HMO.

The VA is also working the local CNCC nursing program to establish an affiliation so the nursing students can serve the local vet, while in training, and develop a network with the VA healthcare providers for potential employment within the region. The VA and local medical providers are to develop a system of “Co-Managed healthcare,” so that vets have the opportunity to use their local healthcare providers and/or merge their services into VA sponsored programs that will provide the best possible health services at the lowest out-of-pocket expense.

Sen. Salazar and local veterans

U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar met with local vets Aug. 23 at the Craig Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

In his brief visit, he met with local vets, took their questions and stressed three areas of his concern and efforts while in Washington, including:

• Maintaining a strong U.S. military force to counter any threat to our country and/or troops overseas, plus developing a strong homeland security system to counter the threat of a terrorist attack on our soil

• Developing and conserving our energy policies to significantly reduce our dependence on middle east oil

• The crisis that our and the state’s healthcare system is in, where millions of Americans, thousands of Coloradoans, have no medical insurance or the out-of-pocket expense is staggering. He listed improvements for rural vet critical care access to local hospitals, a proposed increase from 11 to 28 cents per mile reimbursement for travel to regional health care facilities, and a grant program that will provide up to $50,000 for transportation of rural vets to medical centers.

He also acknowledged those WWII vets in attendance by stating “that if it were not for the sacrifices of that generation, those that served in the military around the globe and those who felt the effects of a global war at home” we, as a state or nation, would not be blessed with the society that we now all take for granted.

“That generation rose from the depths of a global depression, fought a war on two fronts around the world, and then returned afterward to build and maintain the industrial, technological system that gives us a standard of living that most other countries around the world desire.”

Vietnam Moving Wall

The steering committee met for the final official time on Aug. 21. They recapped the project, approved all bills to be paid and set up ways to acknowledge all those who assisted in this community event.

When all financial obligations are resolved, they voted to approve the use any remaining funding as a scholarship from the “Moving Wall.”

For information on these programs and/or other veterans’ benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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