EDITORIAL: VA’s new outpatient clinic a boost for local veterans

Feb. 08, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Healthcare is a critical topic for America and all Americans today, but an oft-overlooked aspect of that issue is the care provided to veterans of military service.

For veterans living in Central Carolina, the news has just gotten better: Fayetteville’s Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) has just broken ground on a 10,000 square-foot Sanford-based outpatient clinic. When completed, it’ll serve veterans in Lee and two of our neighboring counties, Harnett and Moore, from its location off Broadway Road near the U.S. 421 overpass.

VMAC officials say the clinic, which will open in 2015, will serve to give increased access to “high quality VA health care” for area veterans and ultimately have the capacity to serve thousands of patients by providing primary care, mental health care and telehealth — described as using a host of tools, including health infomatics, disease management and other technology to target the best and most appropriate care and case management for veterans. It’ll be formally known as the Sanford CBOC — Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

Right now, the Fayetteville VMAC and its affiliated clinics provide care for more than 90,000 veterans in a 21-county area in North and South Carolina. With the new Sanford facility and another under construction in Goldsboro, it’s clear the VA is seeking to better serve veterans. The VMAC’s director, Elizabeth Goolsby, said in a press release this week the “growth in the veteran population in eastern North Carolina has been steady and is projected to continue for the foreseeable future.”

This VA region has been the fastest-growing in the country for the past 10 years and is expected to remain the fastest-growing for the next 10 years, VA regional director Don Hoffman said at Friday’s groundbreaking.

Goolsby said the VA wanted Lee County veterans to have better access to quality health care closer to home. But it’s not just the proximity of the care that’s important, as she pointed out. “We look forward,” she said, “to continuing our dedication and commitment to serve our veterans and ensure they receive the medical and mental health care they have earned.”

Their service warrants the best care possible. The new CBOC will help.