Friday, April 06, 2018
Billy Long: Wait is over for VA health facilities in Joplin, Springfield
Before I was elected to Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its plans to build two health care facilities in Joplin and Springfield. What I thought would be a quick and speedy process turned into a long and bureaucratic one. However, after years of work and planning, both the Joplin and Springfield VA health care facilities are finally on track to open later this year.
These top-of-the-line facilities will be equipped to take care of the thousands of veterans in southwest Missouri area. The Springfield facility will offer a variety of services such as primary care, dental, optometry, mental health, audiology, radiology, physical rehab and endoscopy, among others. Located on West Republic Street, this 68,000-square foot facility will serve more than 9,000 vets. Sixty percent of the veterans in Missouri's 7th Congressional District will use the Springfield facility, whereas 40 percent will use the Joplin facility.
Although not as large as the Springfield center, the 20,585-square foot facility in Joplin will provide similar services to local veterans, including primary and mental health care along with phlebotomy and radiology services. This facility is expected to serve more than 6,000 veterans in the area.
With more than 400,000 veterans in Missouri, these VA health care facilities will play a vital role in making sure these brave men and women get the care they deserve. Not only will these new facilities increase access to care, but they will also eliminate the distance some veterans have to travel to access care while reducing wait times for appointments. For too long veterans have had to drive sometimes hours to obtain basic care. That’s unacceptable and why these facilities are so necessary.
I look forward to working with the VA to ensure these facilities have the staff and equipment to take care of our veterans properly. Finally, the wait is over and our veterans will get the care they rightfully deserve.