Sunday, 14 April 2024

Lake County's new VA clinic expected to be open next year

LAKE COUNTY – Work is under way to choose a permanent site for Lake County's proposed new Veterans Affairs clinic.


Plans appear on target to have the new south county-based clinic opened by late 2010 – possibly even in time for next Veterans Day.


Late last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans to open 31 new clinics in 16 states, with Lake County's proposed clinic among those planned new facilities, as Lake County News has reported.


Lake County is home to a large per-capita veterans population. Jim Brown, Lake County's veteran services officer, said Tuesday there are about 8,000 veterans – out of a total county population of about 65,000 – who make their home here.


Brown previously estimated that between 2,500 and 4,500 local veterans use the VA health care system.


Veterans currently needing those services must travel out of county to Ukiah, Santa Rosa and San Francisco for more major health care issues, Brown said Tuesday.


The new clinic will offer general health care, with some procedures still requiring travel to Santa Rosa or San Francisco, Brown said.


He estimated the new clinic's patients will be almost exclusively from Lake County.


Brown has lobbied for the clinic since 1996. He credited Congressman Mike Thompson, himself a Vietnam veteran, for getting involved in the effort to land the facility.


By 2002 the VA said they were going to locate a clinic in Lake County, and in 2006 the first approvals were made in Washington, DC, Brown said.


“The more they looked at it, the more they saw we really had the veteran population” – and the need, Brown said.


The project currently has no total dollar figure that's been publicly released, said Brown.


A technical evaluation team is working on the clinic project and a site selection process still is under way, with Brown noting that the three possible sites in Clearlake also haven't been made public.


“My prediction right now is we could easily be in a building at some point next year,” Brown said.


If it's a build to suit situation, the clinic could be open by late 2010 or even early 2011, he said.


There's also a chance that a Veterans Service Office staffer could be located at the clinic in a part-time capacity in an effort to get veterans the services they need, Brown said.


As soon as the site selection is made, Brown said he expected the work on the clinic will progress quickly.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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