Central Alabama VA representatives say that the new VA clinic is scheduled to finish construction in June 2021. Veterans here in Columbus say they are looking forward to better service.
The new VA clinic will be located at the old Blue Cross Blue Shield building on Warm Springs Road. Raijeim Douglas says she’s glad to see a new clinic come to a more centralized location, but she still has concerns.
“My concern is that there still is not an emergency room for veterans to go to that have not retired through the military,” Douglas said.
Congress approved space for the new 58,000 square foot community based outpatient clinic, but city councilor John House says that the facility size is not large enough to serve the veteran community here in Columbus.
“The problem is the VA asked for 58,000 sq. ft. and they should’ve asked for about 110,000. They are building clinics around the country. I see press releases all the time for veteran population that are smaller and the clinic is double the size,” House said.
During the meeting the VA representatives recognized that the veteran population in the area is over 70,000 and growing. Initially, the VA used the health system enrollment rather than the census figure. Veterans say although the size is not ideal they are hopeful for what a new v-a clinic will bring to the community.
The new clinic which will feature specialities that Patricia Lidell says are not on post or at the 13th Ave. location.
“They’re trying to bring the eye clinic and if you need an OBGYN they’re trying to make sure that that’s there and they’re trying to make sure that if you have to have a cardiologist maybe that will be there as well or aromotologist. Just trying to make sure that the veteran will have less travel,” Lidell said.
Douglas says she hopes with the new clinic will come better treatment for her and other women veterans.
“You’re getting taken care of but sometimes you’re voice is not heard as a woman, so you get seen but some issues you might be in some pain in your stomach,” oh maybe that’s you’re female issues or something,” so it’s taken more lightly,” Douglas said.
With the female veteran population continually increasing the VA says they are implementing more women health care programs to accomodate all veterans.