New VA outpatient clinic to be built in southeastern Minnesota

The Veterans Administration has confirmed that funding is finalized for a new community-based outpatient clinic for veterans to be built in southeastern Minnesota, reports the Austin Daily Herald.

The paper quotes Ralph Heussner, VA public affairs officer, who says the new clinic was approved in the VA’s fiscal year 2013 budget.

It could open in late 2013 or early 2014.

That type of clinic, says the paper, offers “primary health care services and mental health counseling, sometimes through video teleconferencing from the clinic to a clinician located at the medical center in Minneapolis. The clinics do not provide urgent care or emergency care.”

But where the new clinic goes is the next big question.

According to Heussner, a detailed, demographic survey will help determine the best location for the VA where it can assist the most “underserved” veterans.

The paper said:

… veterans service officers have continually mentioned their respective towns — Austin, Albert Lea, Owatonna and Faribault — as the best locations. A lot of talk has surrounded Albert Lea as the intersection of Interstates 90 and 35 could serve the most commuters, and the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea could house the clinic. However, Heussner said the demographic survey and proposals by building contractors will be the major factors.

Wherever it goes, the VA will partner with an existing medical facility, paying for construction of a new clinic, or expansion of an existing one. It will pay the medical facility for staff that is trained and certified through the VA, except for psychologists, who will be VA staffers, the story said.

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