NEWPORT, Vt., September 9 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today participated in the grand opening of a new community health clinic for Northeast Kingdom veterans.
The clinic housed at Newport's North Country Hospital will be the sixth operated by the White River Junction VA Medical Center. The other clinics serving Vermonters are in Bennington, Brattleboro, Colchester, Rutland, and Littleton, N.H. The Brattleboro clinic opened in June of this year.
The clinics provide access for veterans to primary care physicians, laboratory tests, medications, mental health services, and preventative services such as flu shots.
"We have heard over the years from many veterans in the Northeast Kingdom that it has been hard to access care," said Sanders, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "The Newport clinic should save them a lot of time and trouble traveling to White River Junction to get the care they deserve.
The newest U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic is located on the second floor of the hospital at 189 Prouty Dr. in Newport. The clinic initially will open every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and two Wednesdays every month from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The clinic could expand its hours of operation, size and service available if there is sufficient demand. Veterans can call (802) 334-4131 for information about the clinic.
"We have been working very hard to make sure that veterans who live in the Northeast Kingdom have access to primary health care," Sanders said. "People who have put their lives on the line for our country deserve the best health care we can provide and that means providing care where they live."
Community-Based Outpatient Clinics are part of a national effort to transition the VA from a hospital-based system of care to a more efficient health care system focused on primary care. The clinics are chosen based on an analysis of the distance to other health care services, accessibility, relationships to other veterans' services, and possible care-provider partnerships.
To view photographs from the grand opening, click here.