Veterans watching and waiting for permanent clinic

Veterans watching and waiting for permanent clinic

Veterans in our area were elated to get a mobile health clinic a couple of weeks ago.

But they are not taking anything for granted as they wait for their needs to be met.

Some came out to meet with their congressman.

The mobile clinic is up and running but an indoor waiting area has at least temporarily been taken away, leaving veterans to wonder if they'll have to hang out in the heat until some contract issues can be worked out.

Providing local VA care to local veterans is a work in progress. The mobile clinic is operating-- but unlike the first day there was nowhere out of the heat or elements for veterans to wait... That's a concern. WWII Veteran Wallace Reid was there. "Yes I'm concerned, I'm wondering why we're waiting outside. I thought maybe we would have some facilities to go in but they've been cut off. Why, I don't know."

Veterans in the Lake area are happy about the mobile clinic here next to the old Charter Hospital--but are not taking anything for granted as far as a permanent facility. Korean war Veteran Clarence Smythe says they are tired of waiting. "This thing has been going on and on and on and on and on and on. Myself, as a veteran, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of going to Jennings. I'm tired of going to Alexandria."

He thinks the building here is a perfect place for a permanent clinic. "We need it here. This is the ideal place. Not no other place. Here there's beautiful parking, access to the interstate."

A few heard Congressman Charles Boustany would be checking out the mobile clinic and came to ask him about the latest. Boustany says he's determined to get veterans out of the heat. "Something has to be done because nobody's going to sit out here in one hundred degree heat and exacerbate or make worse their health problems."

He says the process of finding a permanent clinic location is still underway. "They're going through their process of evaluating it. That's a closed process to keep political influence out of it and so, my understanding is that process is ongoing. I'm getting updates on a monthly basis as to where we are with it."

For more on mobile clinic hours and how to try to schedule an appointment see the VA news release below.

Copyright 2012 KPLC All rights reserved

The following is a news release from the VA:


 Pineville, LA – The Alexandria VA Health Care System (VAHCS) is pleased to announce the opening of the Lake Charles VA Interim Clinic on Monday, June 4, 2011 at 11 a.m.  

 "Opening this clinic brings medical care closer to the Veterans of southwest Louisiana until a permanent structure is in place," said Gracie Specks, M.S., M.B.A., Alexandria VAHCS director.

 The mobile clinic will operate from 4250 5th Avenue, the Paisaneauxs of Lake Charles, LLC Building, formerly occupied by Louisiana Work Force Development.   The VA-staffed clinic will provide primary care, including women's health, to scheduled patients. The clinic will offer the following expanded hours to meet the needs of the Veteran:  Monday 11:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Friday 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  For more information, please call (337) 515-1810.