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VA to build clinic in Bartlesville

A Veterans Affairs clinic will open in Bartlesville in 2021, making it the only one within 45 miles of the city, federal officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System has awarded a contract for the construction of a 12,500-square-foot facility at 3005 E. Frank Phillips Blvd., said Nita McClellan, EOVAHCS Public Affairs chief.

Construction is expected to end in summer 2021, with the clinic opening later in the year. It will offer primary care, mental health, women’s health, telehealth, lab and home-based services as well as support services, such as dietitian and pharmacy consults, McClellan said.

“We are looking forward to having a community-based clinic for our Veterans in the Bartlesville area,” said Jonathan Plasencia, EOVAHCS associate director, in a statement.

Currently, the closest VA health care facility is the Tulsa Eleventh Street VA Clinic, 45 miles from Bartlesville.

In 2018, EOVAHCS approved funding for an outpatient clinic to open in Bartlesville during fiscal year 2020. Bartlesville Development Authority President David Wood said the city became aware of a potential project “many months ago,” when developers began assessing properties that met VA specifications.

The project was eventually delayed to allow time for EOVAHCS to plan a larger facility with more services, McClellan said.

“Certainly, all jobs supported by revenues coming from outside of the community are good for Bartlesville’s economy. And having these services available locally will make life easier for our community’s veterans, and we can all be pleased for that,” Wood said.

Grand Lake Mental Health Center, a nonprofit mental health service provider serving 13 counties, including Washington County, has filled health care gaps in recent years for veterans who struggle to travel to the Tulsa VA clinics.

Grand Lake Chief Operating Officer Josh Cantwell said while the nonprofit has tried to expand “integrated health care services,” rather than just mental health, the new clinic establishing an array of services closer than Tulsa will be “awesome” for the community.

He said the new clinic will also provide “outstanding” partnership opportunities for the nonprofit.

“Not all of our veterans have that opportunity to be so close (to a clinic) and have such a convenient way to access those services. I see only great things from them opening (the new) center,” Cantwell said.

“I think that part of it is going to be going to an environment they may be comfortable with with people who have specific training for their needs and also a facility that’s already sympathetic to the experiences they may be seeking help for.”

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