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VA medical bus debuts in Bluefield

Local - 2/18/2014 3:50 PM by Derek Dole

BLUEFIELD - Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, along with Congressman Nick Rahall (all D-W.Va.), today thanked the Beckley Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which officially announced that Mercer County’s new mobile health clinic that began serving patients today. The mobile outpatient clinic will help the growing number of veterans in the area access needed primary medical services.

“Our veterans deserve access to the best treatment and care that is available,” Senator Manchin said. “This is truly a great day for the veterans of this region, and much of it is because of a very special veteran, Al Hancock. After 17 years of working to make this idea a reality, the retired Air Force veteran who served two tours in Vietnam can finally see this idea turn into a reality for the veterans of Mercer County. I thank Al, the VA, the Beckley VA center and all those who have worked to bring this much needed health care access to Mercer County.”

“When veterans need primary and mental health care services, they shouldn’t face barriers like having to travel more than an hour to receive the care they earned and deserve. I want to express my appreciation to the VA, the Beckley VA Medical Center, and our local heroes, for their tireless work to bring this mobile clinic to Mercer County,” said Rockefeller, who is the longest serving member and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Starting next year, and for years to come, the clinic will give our veterans access to critical health care services. I’m also pleased to report that we are continuing to make progress on bringing the tele-health facility to Mercer County. I encourage all veterans to make use of these important health care services once they are up and running.”
 
Rockefeller is deeply committed to improving the care of all veterans. He continues to work with the director of the Beckley VA Medical Center to find ways to provide the important mental health and medical services that veterans in the area need. The Senator has worked for years to establish and expand the network of Community-Based Outreach Clinics in the state – including one for Mercer County.

“With the arrival of the mobile clinic in Beckley, I hope the necessary personnel can be hired and the details of its delivery to Mercer County can be finalized quickly so that veterans can begin taking advantage of the health services without further delay. Although the opening of the tele-health facility planned for the Vet Center in Princeton has fallen behind schedule, which is a concern, I am encouraged by reports from VA officials that they are making progress on the necessary contracts and that the facility will be opening next year,” said Rahall. 

“I appreciate VA officials for being responsive to the concerns of local veterans and their families.  The mobile clinic is a major first step toward increasing access to veterans’ care in Mercer County and the surrounding area and I hope that our veterans will make full use of these new services, which is the best way to demonstrate the need for future VA investments,” said Rahall.

Beckley VAMC Director Karin McGraw stated, “We are excited about the early delivery of the mobile health clinic and we are committed to increasing the ability of Veterans living in southern West Virginia to take advantage of VA health care.”

The mobile health clinic will be an extension of the Beckley VA Medical Center. The fully self-contained mobile center has already been delivered and includes two exam rooms, a waiting area and a restroom. Electronic records will be maintained through the use of satellite technology.

Manchin, Rockefeller and Rahall worked with the VA, the Beckley VA Medical Center, and local veterans to get the VA to approve the mobile health clinic in Mercer County.


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