The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs VA clinic at the FoxCare Center in Oneonta will open Tuesday.
Peter Potter, public affairs director at Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, said there will be a “soft opening” Monday, Dec. 5, if anybody walks in, with the regular opening on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
The new clinic was moved from Bainbridge to Oneonta after the VA conducted a demographic study to see how it could best serve veterans and determined moving the center to Oneonta will serve more veterans, a previous article said.
“This will help local college students as local veterans are coming home and using their GI Bill benefits,” Potter said.
The VA tries to have clinics within a 30-minute drive, and the move will help more Delaware County veterans, he said previously. Veterans in Delaware and Otsego counties either had to visit the Bainbridge or Fonda clinics, previously. He said the Stratton VA Medical Center serves 417 Delaware County veterans, 522 Otsego County veterans and 327 Chenango County veterans.
He said the VA also looked at the number of veterans living in each county based on U.S. Census records and saw the same trend of more veterans living in Delaware and Otsego counties than in Chenango County.
He said the data also showed the numbers of veterans living in Chenango County is decreasing, while it’s increasing in Otsego County.
The relocated clinic provides more and enhanced services as well as additional space for patient privacy, enabling VA the ability to implement Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) and expand services through telemedicine — doing so in an economically responsible way that maximizes taxpayer dollars, a media release said.
He said the newly adopted Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act opens up new services to veterans who were exposed to toxins while on duty. This includes nuclear radiation, biological, chemical and physical (such as sound, vibration, noise and x-rays), the release said. It also includes several unnamed illnesses veterans came down with after being exposed to the toxins, he said.
In addition, Potter said the location allows the VA to “partner more with the local hospital as well.”
The new clinic will have two exam rooms, two telehealth rooms and one behavioral telehealth room, he said. The women’s health services will also be expanded at the new clinic, he said, and female veterans who experienced military sexual trauma will have more privacy.
It is important to note the relocation of the clinic will, in no way, interfere with veteran care, the release said. Letters have been sent to every veteran utilizing the clinic at the prior location in Bainbridge, informing them of the change of location and providing contact information for Jodeya Jackson, Stratton VAMC’s Primary Care Administrative Officer at 518-626-6561. Phone calls will also be made to veterans to ensure a seamless transition to their receiving care at the new clinic location. Veterans may also continue to contact their primary care team, PACT, as before to ask questions and schedule appointments, the release said.
“The VA is proud to be able to serve our nation’s veterans by providing the best comprehensive care available while maximizing accessibility to VA care for all veterans,” Medical Center Director Darlene DeLancey said in the release. “We remain committed to providing the highest-quality health care available for veterans in and around Oneonta, including Bainbridge and other surrounding localities.”
Enrolled veterans can access their VA healthcare as before, the release said. Veterans interested in enrolling in care, especially in light of the new PACT Act recently enacted providing additional services and benefits to those who may have been exposed to toxins, may enroll either at the clinic or by visiting https://www.va.gov/albany-health-care/ and clicking on “Register for Care” link.
Potter said once the clinic is up and running, the VA will schedule a grand opening for area veterans to tour.