Veterans clinic on track for Clay

By Nick Blank
Posted 1/30/19

DOCTORS INLET – Construction of the planned Clay County Veterans Affairs clinic is expected to begin construction this summer, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho said.

A 10-year lease for the clinic, at the …

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Veterans clinic on track for Clay

Posted

DOCTORS INLET – Construction of the planned Clay County Veterans Affairs clinic is expected to begin construction this summer, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho said.

A 10-year lease for the clinic, at the Doctors Inlet Center on College Drive was announced in August. A dollar amount has not been released for the project.

Yoho said the long three-year process was still waiting on some design approvals and would be a boon to the county’s estimated 30,000 veterans.

“We’re ecstatic with it, No. 1 and going through that process,” Yoho said. “Our team has pulled a lot of strings to keep that at the forefront of the VA.”

Yoho added that his office had to be proactive given Florida’s population growth and the large number of retired and active duty military in the area.

“People are living around the coasts of our state, Florida is the third largest in the union. The corridor with I-95, I-75 and I-10 and the 23 military bases you have in the state,” Yoho said. “The need is going to continue to grow, you don’t want to wait until the need outpaces your ability, that’s why we didn’t wait and that’s why we pushed so hard.”

The North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System is one of the largest in the country as it serves about 11,000 veterans. Clay’s Vietnam Veterans of America President David Treffinger said most veterans’ options for care have them traveling to Duval, Alachua, Putnam or Columbia counties.

“I think it’s long overdue and a pretty good central location,” Treffinger said. “It’s pretty substantial because it’s going to save veterans time and money.”

Clay County Commissioner Gayward Hendry, a former Marine, said the VA clinic is an important way to serve the community in addition to the County’s Veterans Services Office.

“Clay County has always been proud of our military heritage and honored those who defend our country,” Hendry said.

It was exciting to see the progress on the project, County Commission Chairman Mike Cella said.

“With the growing population of active duty families and nearly 30,000 veterans in our community, this is a welcomed resource for our community,” Cella said. “It is projects like this that drive economic development and improve our quality of life.”

The clinic will offer primary care, mental health services, lab services and some remote care. The process for the VA Clinic began in 2015.

“That just shows you how long it takes,” Yoho said. “We have to juggle everything and make sure the momentum doesn’t stop and then you have to start all over.”

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