New VA clinic addresses long-time problems - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

New VA clinic addresses long-time problems

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

Promises to better serve veterans in the Valley, blossomed Wednesday as VA officials hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new clinic on Fort Benning.

Soldiers chanted the historic Army song this morning as they gave a hearty welcome to the new facility. 

"We'll never leave a fallen comrade, we wanted to make sure that we could serve the veteran population here on Fort Benning," said Col. Scott Avery at Fort Benning.

Columbus and Army officials say the veteran population in our area is on the rise, making added services like today extra important.

"We love days like today when we have additional amenities to serve our veterans who served us so well," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

"The Fort Benning expansion will offer a full compliment of primary care providers, with integrated mental health services, expand staffing to four behavioral health interdisciplinary teams, creating availability for four thousand veterans," said Tony Thomas with Fort Benning.

The 19,000 square foot facility will also offer care to more than 13,000 veterans for primary care services as well as adding an additional 96 appointments per week.

Columbus currently has higher than average wait times for care, with a typical three-day wait for an appointment for registered patients and a 52-day wait for new ones.

VA administrators have long addressed that issue, and on Wednesday they showed the community that they are putting their money where their mouth is.

"Those resources will help us expand access, expand treatment opportunities for veterans, and really make a better treatment opportunity for all," said Dr. Robin Jackson with he Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System.

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