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VA spokesman: SL clinic could open next month

"It's a long, drawn-out process, but that's specifically to make sure that we spend our money in the best and most appropriate way possible in order to maximize benefits for the veterans," Potter said.

The Saranac Lake clinic will also feature "tele-health." Potter says that will cut down on special appointments in Albany by allowing patients to work with doctors in Albany via advanced telecommunications technology.

Veterans in the Adirondack North Country now have two clinics - one in Saranac Lake and one in Westport, which replaces the now closed Elizabethtown clinic.

At one point, veterans feared they would have no options, as officials in Albany considered closing the Elizabethtown facility, forcing patients to drive to Plattsburgh.

But fierce public outcry and significant lobbying efforts prevented that from happening.

Now, veterans in the Tri-Lakes won't have to risk driving through the Cascade Mountains during the winter months in order to receive care.

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