Hampton VA Medical Center
Elizabeth City CBOC Ground Breaking
Veterans living in northeastern North Carolina are closer to having a new state-of-the-art, local VA health care facility as nearly 200 people braved the cold Friday morning to attend the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the new VA community based outpatient clinic to be located at 1845 West City Drive, Elizabeth City, N.C.
Representatives for Senator Burr, Senator Hagan and Congressman Butterfield were joined by city and county officials, as well as representatives from state and local Veteran Service Organizations and VA’s Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network, which oversees VA health care in North Carolina, Virginia and a portion of West Virginia.
Making this ground breaking special was the number of Veterans who turned out for the event. Veterans ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-80s, and representing service to America from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, were present to see the official start of the building process, which, depending on the weather, should culminate in a ribbon cutting in the fall.
Adding to the ceremony was the singing of the National Anthem by Tish Leonard from the Hampton VAMC and the presentation of the colors by members of the Northeastern Junior ROTC Ceremonial Color Guard.
Addressing the crowd, DeAnne Seekins, Hampton VAMC’s director, talked about VA’s commitment to enhancing access to care around the nation. “North Carolinians are proud patriots. Time and time again you have answered the call to protect and defend our nation and our allies. One of VA’s primary goals for the 21st century is to increase every Veteran’s access to America’s largest health care network. Part of my responsibilities is to increase access by making care available closer to where Veterans live.
“The leadership and staff of the Hampton VA Medical Center is diligent in our efforts to open this clinic where we can provide quality health care to Veterans residing in the Albermarle area. The new clinic will be a model for primary care and other services, and will offer Veterans living in northeastern North Carolina primary care and mental health services that were previously unavailable without commuting to the Hampton VAMC,” she said.
This clinic joins a network of more than 800 around the country, each acting as extensions of the 157 VA medical centers in providing care to more than five million Veterans. According to Agustin Davila, the deputy network director, this clinic is one of four new outpatient clinics the network will open this year, joining the current network of eight VA Medical Centers and 18 outpatient facilities serving more than 320,000 Veterans. When completed, the new clinic will augment the services of the Hampton VAMC. The clinic will encompass more than 7,000 square feet and is projected to provide health care services to about 2,400 Veterans.
In addition to primary care services, the clinic will be staffed to provide basic mental health services through a psychiatrist, psychologist and a social worker. This facility will also be equipped with equipment that will support telehealth services such as teleretinal imaging. Veterans needing additional services will be referredto Hampton or other VA Medical Centers as needed.
Speaking on behalf of the area’s Veterans was Master Chief Petty Officer TC Oneyear, U.S. Navy Retired. A 30-year Veteran of the Navy and 14 years in the Merchant Marines, this lifetime member of VFW Post 6060 has been deeply involved in making this clinic a reality. “Rest assured I think that what I say today will echo with all my brother and sisters in arms, from the Fleet Reserve Association, American Legion, Chief Petty Officers Association, Disable American Veterans, Game Wardens of Vietnam and all the service organizations that are out there assisting Veterans.
“In the Albermarle area, there are over 10,000 Veterans, some of which have never reached out to the VA because of the travel. This clinic will reduce travel and especially reduce time spent on things like routine checks, prescriptions and refills. This clinic will no doubt have an outstanding and caring staff that will treat our local Veterans with the respect and dignity they deserve for their service here and in far distance lands, so that we all can enjoy the freedom we have today."