December 14, 2006
HOUSTON - Fulfilling a commitment to veterans living north of Houston, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) has signed a contract to lease space in Conroe in order to establish and operate a new VA-staffed Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) offering primary care and mental health services. The new CBOC will be conveniently located at 800 Riverwood Court near the Conroe Regional Medical Center, just off Loop 336 and Interstate 45. It is scheduled to open early next year.
"Our goal is to improve access to health care and this new clinic in Conroe will greatly expand the VA’s capacity for outpatient care in southeast Texas. With this new clinic, veterans living north of Houston will now be able to obtain health care closer to where they live," said Edgar L. Tucker, MEDVAMC director. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates more than 44,000 veterans live in Montgomery and surrounding counties.
“We continue to pursue hiring health care professionals with the credentials and qualifications necessary to staff the clinic. We are as eager as the veterans in the Conroe area to open this clinic, but have an obligation to ensure the quality of health care matches the high standards our veterans have come to expect and rightly deserve from the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center,” said Jay Kalavar, M.D. Prime Care director.
In May 2004, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs announced the details of a comprehensive plan to modernize the VA health care system. The plan included new hospitals in Orlando and Las Vegas, 156 new CBOCs, four new spinal cord injury centers, two blind rehabilitation centers, and expanded mental health outpatient services.
In the Houston area, the plan included new CBOCs in the vicinities of Galveston and Conroe. On March 4, 2005, the MEDVAMC held a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of a new CBOC on 6115 Avenue L in Galveston. Another new CBOC, located at 9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway (Mainland Mall Shopping Center) in Texas City, opened on April 4, 2005.
VA officials are also working to replace the Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic in Lufkin. In January 2006, VA obtained an assignable option to purchase approximately seven acres of land located at 2206 John Redditt Drive for the construction of a new outpatient clinic. Once completed, this new, larger facility will replace the current Lufkin clinic located at 1301 W. Frank Ave.
In fiscal year 2006, the MEDVAMC served more than 116,000 enrolled veterans. There were 681,669 outpatient visits at the Houston facility, 55,172 outpatient visits at the Beaumont VA Outpatient Clinic, 44,117 outpatient visits at the Charles Wilson VA Outpatient Clinic in Lufkin, and 28,527 outpatient visits at the Galveston/Texas City CBOCs. During the same timeframe, 12,652 veterans were admitted as inpatients and 230 veterans were admitted to the Transitional Care Center.
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