Government officials, supporters and a strong contingent of military veterans turned out to provide some pomp and circumstance for the newest medical facility in Platte City. A pair of ceremonies was held Friday, Oct. 9 at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health facility, an outpatient clinic located at 2803 Higgins Rd. Suite F just behind Running Horse Ranch and Home. The VA clinic opened in June with minimal services but continues to expand.
“It’s important to us to have the community support and the support of veterans,” said Dr. William Patterson, director of Veterans Integrated Service Network’s Region 15. “It’s important for you to speak up and tell us when we can do something better. We want to hear it. This clinic is important. We are looking to get into the community where veterans are. We want to get away from the scheduled appointments at the med center where people have to travel.
“We want to get back to the community where veterans have access to us that is easy and convenient.”
Supporters organized an event in the early afternoon that included a performance from the West Platte High School marching band and guest speakers highlighting the importance of taking care of veterans. Later, Matt Snook — a resident of Camden Point, Mo. and recent participant on the NBC reality television show “The Voice — performed the national anthem before officials held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The VA hopes to use the Platte City facility — called a community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) — to alleviate a backlog of patients seeking treatment at Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kan. That facility is basically maxed out on what it can provide and has no room to expand.
The Platte City clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.
Jim Gleisberg, a VA health public affairs officer, said VA patients in the Platte City area can transfer their services from Leavenworth to the new facility by calling 1 (800) 952-8387 ext. 59141. The Platte City clinic offers primary care and social work services and hopes to eventually have enough clientele to operate five days a week.
Prior to this clinic, the closest services available were in Leavenworth, Kansas City and St. Joseph — a big reason why the Platte City location has received so much support, including the ceremonies.
“Today, we mark another small step in the continuing journey of care with the Platte City CBOC,” said Josh Hurlbert, a representative from Rep. Sam Graves’ office. “This clinic will provide area vets with care that they need without having to travel across the river to get to Ft. Leavenworth. Easing the access of care is the heart of the VA’s mission, and we are proud to recognize it today.
“We want to thank everyone for their hard work that made this clinic happen and to the VA as we celebrate the mission of caring for our veterans.”