VA Plans More Houston Outpatient Clinics

In fiscal year 2007, the Houston VA Hospital treated more than 120 thousand veterans, and recorded more than 733 thousand outpatient visits. Assistant Director Frank Vasquez says this fiscal year they're on track to have more than a million outpatient visits. That's a tremendous workload, and it's one of the reasons they need at least four more outpatient clinics for this area. The other reason, Vasquez says, is to allow veterans to get health care in their own communities.

"And these clinics we are gonna open will enable veterans outside of the Houston area to obtain primary and mental health care services closer to where they live."

Vasquez says the new clinics will be in Katy, Tomball, Richmond/Rosenberg, and Lake Jackson.

"At this point we are working to firm up the exact locations, the staffing, the services to be offered, and the actual timetable for opening these clinics. So that's why we are keeping it in the realm of saying they're going to open by winter of 2009."

The four new facilities will double the number of VA outpatient clinics in east and southeast Texas. They'll join clinics already open and treating thousands of veterans in Galveston, Beaumont, Conroe and Lufkin. It hasn't been decided yet whether VA will build completely new from the ground up, or lease space in existing buildings.

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.
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