Proposed Lubbock VA clinic could open in 2020

Updated: May. 22, 2017 at 10:43 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A proposed VA clinic in Lubbock has some veterans looking forward to the future. The goal is for the clinic to open in 2020.

The proposed clinic, which would sit across from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center on 4th Street, is the brainchild of a group of about 20 men and women who represent all branches of the armed services.

This labor of love is one that would not only create a larger clinic than the one currently here, it would also create an invaluable partnership.

"Less than 25 percent of rural veterans utilize the VA facilities. That's a benefit they earned during their service time and we owe that to them," says Retired Air Force Colonel, and current Vet-Star Director, Dave Lewis.

Lewis is excited by the prospect of this clinic.

"For someone who lives in one of the peripheral rural counties, or frontier counties, it's difficult to take a day – travel, do all the things that you need to do - so this expansion of services – and with the great things Texas Tech is doing with their veterans program, brings more veterans to the local area here and so, it's a natural thing."

According to a demographic study done by the State of Texas, in 2016, there were nearly 25,000 veterans across the South Plains.

While Lewis sees the benefit of building this clinic, for Retired Lieutenant General Bernhard Mittemeyer, who is part of the committee to push the proposal, this process holds special importance to him.

"The average veteran is a very humble person. These men and women deserve the best possible care," Mittemeyer says.

General Mittemeyer says he can already imagine the grandeur of this clinic.

"It's gonna be an emblem in a sense. The veteran will drive by and they'll say that's our clinic."

He says there's one expansion in particular he's looking forward to.

"Another major focus at this new clinic would help with is the help for those kids that have PTSD. One third of the building, I believe, is slated to become that type of a facility."

Lewis says while the this prospect is something to be excited about, he says there is still something important to remember.

"We're excited about the prospects, they're gonna build it, they still have to staff it. They're in competition for doctors and nurses just like everybody else, and we hope they'll aggressively take on those challenges and make sure that we not only have a beautiful facility, but it's well staffed."

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