New VA clinic opens in Columbus at location of former Health Department

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A new healthcare option for Columbus veterans opened this morning. 

The Columbus Downtown Veterans Administration clinic has set up shop on Comer Avenue in space previously occupied by the Columbus Health Department. 

The clinic is open to all veterans. It will be operated out of the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System.  It will employ about 30 people and could see 20 or more patients a day. 

The services will include home-based primary care, a homeless patient center, tele-health services, labs, and visiting specialty providers. 

It will prevent some veterans from going to Tuskegee for care. 

“We saw the need and even though our downtown Columbus clinic is not only for homeless veterans, but we did see the need for us to have this to help the homeless population,” said Prudence Howard, associate director of Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System.

In the latest homeless count, there were about 10 homeless veterans. There are 50 or so more who have been recently housed are near homelessness. 

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Neil Richardson is executive director of SafeHouse Ministries and works with the city’s homeless population.

He says the health clinic that will focus on veterans care is a huge deal.

“It’s the last ingredient on fixing homelessness for veterans,” Richardson said. “Because right now with the vouchers we can get to house a vet, that can happen pretty quick, but healthcare, still trying to get on a bus to Tuskegee when they need help. Now, they can get handled immediately and locally.” 

This will not impact the construction of the new VA clinic in North Columbus. The state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to be completed next year. 

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