VA clinic coming to CC

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A Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic—for veterans with low income or service-connected disabilities will open in Campbell County. This will shorten trips for veterans who travel to Knoxville for services.
“We’re excited (it is) coming,” said Kevin Walden, director for the Campbell County Veterans Affairs Office. “It’s not a whether of if, it’s a whether of when. And it’s coming to Campbell County.”
The clinic will be contracted with the United States Veterans Affairs—which will run it for five years. If the VA doesn’t renew it, it would cease operating.
Walden believes the clinic might begin operations as early as the end of 2013. However he hopes to learn specifically by June.
“We’re still waiting on (VA) contracting to tie up some loose ends,” Walden said.
In June, Walden also hopes to discover the location for the new clinic. He has surveyed potential sites with the VA. Some potential locations are:
•The former Church of God Mountain Assembly (on Main Street in Jellico)
•Behind LaFollette Medical Center (off U.S. 25W)
•On the third floor of CHET’s new facility (off U.S. 25W in LaFollette)
•The former post office on Tennessee Avenue in downtown LaFollette
The VA hospital most local veterans use is Mountain Home Medical Center in Johnson City, Walden said. But many seek outpatient care in Knoxville. The VA outpatient clinic located there has X-ray machines, optometry services and a lab. Walden doesn’t anticipate Campbell County’s clinic to provide these services, but there will be a doctor who will examine patients, he said. This will save many veterans from having to go to Knoxville.