County To Expand VA Health Clinic A new private waiting area and Six New Exam Rooms will be constructed,
(Sewell, NJ) – By the fall of this year the VA Health Clinic located at the Gloucester County Offices at Five Points will expand by six new exam rooms and will have its own waiting area, announced Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney, Freeholder Deputy Director Damminger and Freeholder Bill Krebs. The Freeholders were joined by the Director of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Michael Sullivan, at the announcement today.
“From the minute the county partnered with the VA to put the clinic in Gloucester County nothing but good things have happened. The VA told us that if we provided additional space for them, they would provide additional doctors, staff and services,” said Freeholder Director Sweeney.
“In our budget this year we allocated the funds to renovate this building that would provide the VA Health Clinic with six additional exam rooms and a private waiting area. The county committed to our veterans and the VA that we would provide the space so that they could do more, and we are honoring that commitment,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney noted that the expansion will result in the county supplying ten exam rooms in the VA Clinic, as opposed to four.
“The Freeholders feel strongly that it is our duty to provide our regions veterans with this space and we have received phenomenal support from the VA, our Congressional delegation our Veteran’s Community and all of our citizens to continue to expand this clinic to provide vital health programs to the men and women who served our country,” stated the Freeholder Deputy Director Bob Damminger.
The Freeholders said that the expansion of the Gloucester clinic will allow the VA to increase the days of Behavioral Health Services they provide from 3 days a week to 5 days a week and give them greater opportunities to provide group therapy sessions.
Mental health counseling, individual, group and family counseling and other behavioral health services will increase under this initiative.
County expands VA Health Clinic
August 3, 2006
The expansion will also allow the VA to increase the number of primary care staff due to the additional exam rooms, which will allow more veterans to be treated. It will also give the VA the opportunity to explore adding additional services in the future.
Freeholder Damminger stated, “As a result of the county’s expansion of the clinic, the Philadelphia VA will be adding an additional part-time primary care physician, expanding the Clinical Nurse Specialist of Psychiatrics to a full-time position, and adding a full-time social worker and a part time psychiatric physician.”
The social worker and psychiatric physician are two new staff positions to the clinic. The VA will also be utilizing the new exam rooms to create a more efficient system to see patients to reduce waiting times for veterans who come in for appointments.
Approximately 630 square feet of additional space to the VA clinic will be provided as a result of this project. A total of six exam rooms will be added to the VA clinic by converting existing offices at the county’s Five Points building. Additionally, the path from entering the building to the clinic will be reconfigured to improve public access and a new waiting area will be created.
“On very busy days veterans can fill up the lobby and spill over into the County Veterans Affairs Office and the entrance to the clinic itself. Under this expansion, two existing rooms will be combined to create a private waiting area dedicated to the VA clinic. A new reception area will be created next to the waiting area, which will create a more comfortable atmosphere for veterans, staff and other citizens who come to use this building,” Freeholder Krebs stated.
Freeholder Krebs noted, “Just a little over a year ago we were able to announce that the VA Health Clinic had expanded to a full-time clinic. There is a great need for this facility and both the county and the VA acknowledge that need and continually work together to provide services to our veterans.”
The VA clinic began its operations with one doctor and one nurse for a half a day per week in 1999. The clinic saw approximately 320 patients in its first ten months of operation. These patients typically needed to schedule an appointment six to nine months in advance. The long waiting list led to the first expansion of operations, and ever since, the clinic has continually made adjustments in an effort to keep up with demand. Last March, the VA Clinic went from a part-time clinic to a full five-day a week clinic. In 2005 the VA Health Clinic in Gloucester County saw 2,821 clients, this year to date they have seen 3,157.
“Every time there is staff or hours added to this clinic, they are utilized. The county VA clinic will most likely see more than double the amount of veterans by the end of this year than it saw in 2005 due to the increase in hours and medical staff,” Freeholder Deputy Director Damminger stated. “We are thankful to Mike Sullivan and everyone at the Philadelphia VA and to our Congressmen for keeping their commitment to our region’s veterans,” Damminger said.
The Veterans Administration expansion project was combined with a reorganization of County offices in the building. The Office of Disability Services recently moved to the County’s Budd Boulevard Facility so that it would be housed in the Human Services Department and help provide space for the VA Clinic expansion. The Division of Senior Services and the Special Transportation Division will be remaining in the Five Points Office.
County expands VA Health Clinic
August 3, 2006
The VA clinic provides a wide range of wellness services such as the regular check-ups recommended to those with diabetes or high cholesterol.
Clinic services are available to veterans who have registered with the Philadelphia VA Healthcare System (to use the Gloucester County VA Health Clinic veterans must be in the Philadelphia system).
Appointments are necessary for all clinic services. To register, make an appointment, or if you have any questions, please call 401-7665.
The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM. The VA Clinic is located at 211 County House Road in Sewell.