LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Arkansas will have easier access to world-class health care under a Department of Veterans Affairs plan to open three new outpatient clinics.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that in the next two years it will open 31 new clinics in 16 states. Arkansas is in line to be home to three new outpatient clinics for veterans.
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) has about 52,000 veterans enrolled for care and last fiscal year they had more than 600,000 patient visits, but many of those patients could have been treated with a simple trip to out patient clinics rather than the VA hospital.
Alvin Fulson retired from the military in 1976, he now lives in Oklahoma and battles post traumatic stress disorder.
Fulson says, "Your treatment and your condition and stuff it comes first."
By bus it took Fulson six-hours to get to Little Rock, but he says with a new Russellville clinic set to open by 2010 help would be much closer.
"It would be closer to home it would be more convenient for us to go there than to come all the way to Little Rock for treatment," Fulson adds.
Laurie Driver says "Each one of our community based outpatient clinics has a social worker and a psychiatrist that's providing care out in the community for them."
Driver with CAVHS says they constantly look at how the veteran population changes and that determines how they meet patient's needs. The VA currently has two hospitals in Arkansas and five out patient clinics.
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