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Officials Release New GF VA Clinic Details

July 10, 2008

By Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.

Jul. 10–New details about a new clinic for veterans in Grand Forks were released Wednesday by North Dakota’s three-man Congressional delegation.

It’s one of five new Veterans Affairs clinics opening around the state to bolster care already provided at VA centers in Fargo, Grafton, Bismarck and Minot, according to Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, all D-N.D., who put out a joint news release.

The Grand Forks clinic will be completed within about 15 months, but its location isn’t set yet, said aides to the lawmakers.

Grand Forks Air Force Base remains one possible location, but the clinic might be in or nearer to Grand Forks, the aides said.

All that has been stipulated so far is that it will be in Grand Forks County.

The projected start-up costs will be $292,601, with a projected annual operating budget of $917,712 and eight full-time employees. It will serve about 1,225 patients, including 300 new ones, making 5,513 visits a year, according to the proposal that has been authorized by Congress.

The clinic will provide services to veterans such as comprehensive primary care, health promotion, maintenance, routine procedures and education, screening, evaluations and interventions for mental health disorders, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual trauma counseling. Patients can be referred to Fargo’s VA Medical Center for more care, and “telemedicine,” using interactive TV, will be used at the clinic, too. Currently, veterans in the Grand Forks area usually go to Grafton or Fargo for VA medical care.

The clinic is part of a five-year effort to provide more care to veterans in rural areas, the delegation said.

Community-based VA clinics recently opened in Williston, Jamestown and Dickinson, N.D., and one in Devils Lake will open soon.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com

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Copyright (c) 2008, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.

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