Dozens gathered at the USVA’s John J. Pershing Medical Center in Pocahontas Friday to celebrate its new milestone. The Veterans Affairs clinic was formerly open two days a week, and now will be open five days a week.
“Almost forty percent of the veterans that are eligible for health care, are not enrolled in any VA services. So we have a large discrepancy, and a large opportunity to serve many-many more veterans in the region with this clinic,” said Patricia Hall, VA Medical Center Director.
The clinic currently serves around six hundred veterans. They are providing more mental health staff, and women’s health services to help veterans like Latika Nelson.
“It’s a major milestone for the VA, women who have served in the military, now have a better sense of belonging within the veteran-s health administration. Amongst our veterans and our comrades,” said Nelson.
Providers will jump the long-term hurdle of offering veterans in-town primary care. Something, Mayor Kary Story wishes his grandfather had as a World War II vet.
“We had to make some sixty trips in 2007, to Poplar Bluff, to Jonesboro, to Paragould. It was very-very tough on him being in his late 80’s to make that one-hour journey,” said Story.
“When they have to drive long-distances to seek health care…many of them choose not to get healthcare at all.” “We hope that we will entice even more veterans to come and seek out services with us…services that they have earned through their service to our country,” added Hall.
The clinic is also continuing its services for the homeless. The VA Pocahontas clinic is now open Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm.