GRANTS PASS — Veterans in Josephine County won't have to travel as far for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care beginning Dec. 3.
The VA's Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City is opening a health-care outreach clinic here as part of it rural health-care initiative. The SORCC opened an outpatient clinic in Klamath Falls in 2000 and a once-a-week extension clinic in Lakeview last December.
The Grants Pass West VA Outreach Clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at 520 SW Ramsey Avenue, Suite 102, in Grants Pass.
Initially, the clinic will offer primary care services for chronic medical conditions, including blood draws and limited health screenings. It also will offer mental-health services.
However, if demand for services warrants, the clinic would be open on more days and offer expanded services, said SORCC director Max McIntosh.
"Veterans living in rural areas need to have more convenient access to their VA care," he said in a prepared statement. "There are a number of veterans rurally positioned that do not take advantage of VA care available to them, even though they need help, simply because of social, economic and geographic barriers."
The SORCC is working with private sector health-care organizations to help reduce those barriers, he said. There are about 40,000 veterans in Southern Oregon, including some 11,200 in Josephine County and about 25,000 in Jackson County.
Enrolled veterans living in the most remote areas of Josephine County will be contacted by letter and provided appointments first, officials said. All enrolled veterans within the county will eventually have the opportunity to be phased into clinic appointments, they added.
"This phasing-in process will ensure we reach the more remote veterans right away," McIntosh said. "They are a good portion of the vets who have not been able to get to the care they need."
The SORCC will keep in touch with veterans to keep them abreast of the clinic's capability to add more enrolled veterans, he noted.
Veterans not enrolled in the VA health-care system can also acquire applications for care at the clinic. Assistance will be provided on how to complete the application form to determine eligibility for care.
If you're a veteran and would like more information about the clinic, contact Tracy Dekelboum at 830-7423.
Formerly known as the domiciliary, the SORCC was established at the Army's Camp White following World War II. Now the central VA medical clinic in far Southern Oregon and Northern California, it has some 500 resident patients with 13,000 outpatients.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at email@example.com.