Roe keynote speaker as new VA clinic opens in Rogersville

Jeff Bobo • May 3, 2009 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A new Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic, which opened Friday in Rogersville, is expected to serve approximately 1,400 Rogersville veterans, saving them a drive to Johnson City to receive their health care benefits.

Rep. Phil Roe was keynote speaker Friday for the VA clinic ribbon-cutting ceremony at 401 Scenic Drive in Rogersville. The newly remodeled 4,000-square-foot facility will be staffed by five full-time employees, led by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Coy Stone.

Charlene Ehret, director of the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, said that providing community level access to services is a key element to the VA’s future.

“When you need it, you don’t want to be driving an hour or so to get to the big hospital in Johnson City,” Ehret said. “This clinic satisfies the three R’s: the right service, the right place, the right time. It also sets a new standard for the establishment of VA clinics across the nation.

“A community clinic is right for the VA, right for the community and most importantly, right for the veterans that we serve.”

The Rogersville clinic joins other community-based outpatient clinics affiliated with the Quillen VA Medical Center located in Morristown, Norton, Va., and Bristol, Va.

Roe noted that the federal government has provided between $25 billion and $27 billion new dollars for care of veterans over the past two years.

“We’re providing veterans now with access to top quality care close to their own homes, and it’s about time,” said Roe, who sits on the congressional Veterans Affairs Committee.

Roe added, “We’re doing a much better job of taking care of our troops. I told a subcommittee hearing this week we had a war where we forgot our troops: Vietnam. That won’t happen again.”

The number of total patient visits to the new Rogersville clinic is estimated at 4,000 in the first year.

The facility holds a five-year lease in its current building with an option to renew over the next five years.

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