Prowers Commissioners Working to Keep VA Clinic Local


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The Prowers County Commissioners have helped give new life to a more or less, permanent VA health clinic for Lamar and Prowers County. 

The Lamar VA clinic, which will operate at Prowers Medical Center until the end of August, may be re-located to the Prowers County Annex on East Cedar Street.  The VA had issued bids for office space for a new clinic, but received no responses from any property owners in the Lamar area.  Jeremy Miller, County Veterans’ Service Officer, met with the commissioner’s during their Thursday, July 18 meeting to discuss the latest proposal which would include a five year lease if all parties agree.  At first, the offer of office space from the county was only temporary, until a permanent location was arranged, as the commissioners did not want the county to compete with any local commercial businesses.  The temporary offer, which was rent free, was made simply to keep the clinic locally situated. 

An inspection team from the VA surveyed potential office space at the County Annex on Wednesday.  Plans call for the clinic to be staffed by three, full-time VA employees, including a Nurse Practitioner and an IT tech who would operate a computer-operated, tele-medicine device used for medical diagnosis.  The device uses a video screen and a remote camera to offer on-line, face to face interviews between patient and a medical provider, when needed.  Miller said the proposed location carries some advantages as his Veteran’s Service office is located in the Annex, it is headquarters for the vehicles used to transport patients to medical appointments at the VA Hospital in Denver and other cities, and because the medical providers are direct employees of the VA, decisions for additional medical treatment and travel can be made on the spot. 

While it appears to be a workable arrangement, the commissioners expressed budget concerns on how the operation would be financed at the start-up.  Miller explained that the county would bear the initial cost of office modifications and be reimbursed for expenses at a later date.  Commissioner Chairman, Joe Marble, said the county would need to find a way to work those costs into the budget, but at this time, no funding had been earmarked for such a venture.  Marble also stated, “We will not lose the capability of taking care of our vets,” during the discussion.  Miller also pointed out that the cost of any office modifications would be through local contractors.  Current plans call for a Mobile Treatment Clinic van to be used after August 31 as a temporary site for VA patients while construction is underway at the County Annex, pending approval of the project.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEmploymentFeaturedHealthLamarProwers CountyTransportation


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