Saturday, December 1, 2018

Alabama VA clinics "merging" with only one doctor?

Dothan VA clinic closing, merging

Montgomery Advertiser
Andrew J. Yawn and Melissa Brown
November 30, 2018
A staff member at the newly merged mental health clinic — now named the Dothan VA Clinic — said Thursday the two clinics were consolidated earlier in the week and that there is only one doctor on staff.
Health care for veterans in southeast Alabama is in transition after the Dothan Veterans Affairs Clinic closure was made official Friday.

The primary care services previously provided by the clinic will now be offered at the Dothan VA Mental Health Clinic, although it appears the Wiregrass VA Clinic in Ft. Rucker — more than a 30-minute drive away — will also be heavily relied on to handle the influx of patients from the now-closed clinic.

Despite the more than 4,300 VA patients who are assigned to the Dothan division, according to data provided by the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHCS), the merged Dothan VA location is currently capable of accommodating 2,000 patients. There are plans to expand for at least 1,000 additional patients, CAVHCS spokesperson Kim Betton said via email.

"Capacity at Ft. Rucker has also increased to care for other of the (sic) Veterans," Betton said. "Additionally, care in the local community will be used to ensure care for the Veteran population currently using the clinic."

More than 3,100 VA patients are currently assigned to the Ft. Rucker Wiregrass clinic.

A request by the Montgomery Advertiser for the number of doctors at each facility went unanswered, and a request for an interview regarding the closure was not fulfilled.
Reid, who lives alone and whose close family lives in Alaska, receives four hours of in-home health aid five days a week to help with quality of life tasks. But within the past two years, paperwork and red tape at the Montgomery VA has caused her home health care to lapse, leaving her without in-home care for several weeks. Reid said her monthly pain medication is frequently delayed as well, a disruptive and painful occurrence. read more here

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