WESTPORT - Not only has the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic moved into an expanded new area in Westport, they are also bringing their services to a new satellite office in Saranac Lake.
"It was a long process to get to where we are now," Peter Potter, with Veterans Services for the state of New York. "You want to make sure that you have done everything that you absolutely can do to provide the best care for the veterans."
The VA clinic, which was located at the Elizabethtown Community Hospital, has recently opened its doors at the Elizabethtown Community Based Outpatient Clinic at 7426 NYS Rte 9N, the site of the former New York State Police barracks.
"That site is open for business and patient care," Potter said. "We are still working on the building and areas that we want to renovate so we can provide more stuff for our patients, but we are seeing patients there right now."
Meanwhile, the new Saranac Lake satellite office, which will be located at 33 Depot St., is anticipated to open in April.
"This CBOC is still in the construction phase," Potter said. "Certainly, with continued snow and extremely cold temperatures, the construction timeline has been extended, but we anticipate that the clinic will be functioning by March and fully operational by April."
Office hours are currently Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m., with office hours expected to be shared between the Elizabethtown CBOC and the Saranac Lake Satellite Office and will be based on veterans' needs.
The clinic currently serves 765 men and 23 women and staffers want to provide closer services to those in the Tri-Lakes area.
"We've been told by local officials that there's a population of about 4,500 veterans in the Tri-Lake region, many of whom have had to travel over an hour for their primary care if they chose to utilize VA health care," Potter said. "Considering the distance, there are many veterans that did not utilize the available services. With this new satellite clinic, veterans will have easier access to the high quality health care they have earned through their service to our country."