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VA clinic searching for new home

PORT HENRY - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking space to operate a clinic in Essex County.

After 22 years the VA clinic at Elizabethtown Community Hospital is closing.

"At present, VA is working hard to try to identify locations that provide veterans the kind of clinic commensurate with the high quality of care expected by our veterans," Mary-Ellen Piche, director of the Samuel Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, said. "We received a few suggestions for locations, including select space at Elizabethtown Hospital. However, upon review, they were deemed inappropriate for veterans' needs."

Tom Scozzafava, Moriah supervisor, said he has been contacted by the VA for assistance in locating a home for the clinic.

"I'd like to see it in the town of Moriah," Scozzafava said, "but if not here someplace in the central part of the county."

The VA needs approximately 2,600 square feet of handicap-accessible space, Piche said. She said the VA hopes to have an Essex County clinic open this summer.

Scozzafava said he investigated housing the clinic at the new Moriah Health Center, but found there was not sufficient space.

The old Republic Steel building and former hospital in Mineville don't meet codes, he said.

"If anyone has space available or knows of space please call my office," Scozzafava said.

The new VA clinic and a satellite office in Saranac Lake will treat veterans five days a week when it opens.

Piche said the Department of Veterans Affairs is now recruiting staff for the Essex County clinic.

There are 1,383 VA clinics in the country. The closest to Essex County, besides Elizabethtown Community Hospital, are located in Plattsburgh and Glens Falls.

The VA clinic at Elizabethtown Community Hospital provides primary care services for veterans in Essex County and the surrounding areas. It also offers behavioral health care, lab work, a prescription service and a smoking cessation program.

Specialty services are available through the VA Healthcare Network Upstate New York at Albany.

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