Locals celebrate grand opening of Anderson VA Clinic

VA clinic opens in Anderson - March 18, 2016 (FOX Carolina

A new Veterans Affairs Clinic has officially opened in Anderson.

Veterans along with city and state officials celebrated the opening Friday. The new clinic offers mental and primary health care to veterans, many of whom have had to travel to Greenville, Spartanburg or Columbia to be treated for combat and military-related issues.

Some veterans said long wait times to get in to see a physician at the VA have plagued their experiences there. Sammie Paul, a Vietnam vet, said one time he had to wait eight months to see a VA doctor.

The Veterans' Choice program recently implemented allows veterans to go outside of the VA coverage area if they need to see a doctor because of those long wait times. Paul said he sometimes had to see a primary care physician outside of the network.

"I think this is going to help," he said of the new clinic in Anderson. "Wait times I think will be cut."

Timothy McMurry, director of the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, was there to announce the grand opening. McMurry told FOX Carolina there are about three physicians at the new facility. Asked if he thought that was enough to cover the 16,000 veterans the center will serve, he said resources will continue to grow through the years, and that he was confident in the clinic's current resources to help alleviate some of the problems vets in Anderson currently face.

"We have enough resources - human capital resources - to serve our veterans right now, but we want to continue to expand some of the special services," said McMurry.

Veterans told FOX Carolina that they are worried about the clinic's small staff, but they remain hopeful that with a clinic closer to them, they will be able to get the help they need.

Copyright 2016 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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