For the Daily Journal
A long-awaited primary health care clinic for veterans in a remodeled building at Camp Atterbury will start treating patients next month.
Besides having its own medical staff, the clinic will bring in a rotating team of physicians and nurses from Indianapolis to provide services, said Pete Scovill, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman.
The opening of the clinic at Camp Atterbury will be a joint venture of the Indiana National Guard and the Veterans Administration, Scovill said. Veterans from Johnson, Bartholomew or other nearby counties can avoid making a trip to the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, instead getting care closer to home, near Edinburgh.
“So many veterans who live in our area refuse to go up there due to traffic, parking problems, construction and other distractions,” AMVETS commander Richard Caldwell of Columbus said. “This will be so much easier for them because it’s so much closer.”
The new clinic is expected to attract mostly younger veterans who may not need specialty care or have established relationships with doctors in Indianapolis.
Because veterans nearing or at retirement age often need specialized care and have long-established relationships with their Roudebush physicians, most will want to continue making regular trips to Indianapolis, said Tom Crawford, the Bartholomew County Veterans Services officer.
While veterans who need specialty care will still have to go to the Roudebush facility, it’s anticipated that some specialists — including optometrists — will eventually be at the facility near Edinburgh on a part-time basis, Scovill said.
The Johnson County Veterans Services office assists nearly 12,000 veterans, director Charles Russell said. He expects some local veterans will want to continue receiving primary care in nearby Morgan County.
That’s because if unexpected tests or treatments are needed, the Martinsville Community Based Outpatient Clinic is conveniently located next to Morgan Hospital and Medical Center, Russell said.
The clinic initially was scheduled to open last year but was delayed as federal and state officials worked out funding questions, since it will be jointly managed by both state and federal government, Caldwell said.
And because Atterbury is classified as a military installation, there should be few delays in transferring military medical records for veterans to the clinic, Caldwell said.
While the primary health care clinic for veterans at Camp Atterbury will start treating patients in February, the exact day for the opening has not been announced.
The clinic will be dedicated during a ceremony at 11 a.m. March 30 at Camp Atterbury.