07/29/2008: "VA Primary Care On SJI"
The Veterans Administration has started once-a-month clinics at the Inter Island Medical Center on San Juan Island on the last Saturday of each month.
The clinics are the result of longstanding efforts by San Juan County Council Member Kevin Ranker, working with “first gentleman” Mike Gregoire; State Washington Veterans Affairs Director, John Lee, and the Veterans Administration.
“After more than three years of effort, it is really gratifying to see this happen,” said Ranker. “It was not conscionable to require our veterans to travel all of the way to Seattle to receive basic medical care.” San Juan County, with a population of less than 16,000 is home to approximately 2,500 veterans.
Frankie Manning, RN -the Veterans Administration coordinator for the clinics- set up two small clinics in June and July at the Medical Center to work out logistics. Manning expects the August clinic will be able to handle more veterans.
“We are thrilled to be working in collaboration with local leaders on this access clinic, she said. “[Bringing] health care closer to home for our veterans is something we can all be proud of.”
First Gentleman Mike Gregoire echoed those feelings, “San Juan County veterans and their families can be proud of the work that was done by their county, state and federal officials to turn this idea into a working program!"
The Veterans Administration has operated similar clinic in Bellingham for the last 11 years and has recently begun holding access clinics in the Mount Vernon area. The clinics offer primary medical care, including such things as checkups and treatment for ongoing medical conditions. San Juan County Veterans who would like to make an appointment to be seen at one of the clinics should call: 1-800-329-8387 ext. 62626.