By Tamas Mondovics
Dozens stopped by last week to meet and greet representatives of James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, and soon to open VA Outpatient Clinic on Cold Springs Road in Mountain City. The event was held at the Food Country grocery store parking lot in the heart of town, allowing many to register and sign up to be officially treated and take advantage of the newly renovated $1.4 million, 5,600 square-feet, facility. Veterans were also able to meet DR. Meghan Johnson, who spoke excitingly about caring for local veterans.
“This is wonderful,” she said, “especially since I already know a lot of folks from the community. It will help with the transition.”
In response to the event’s success, VA Public Relations Officer, Kristen Schabert said, “We were extremely pleased with the turnout at our outreach event. We had around 200 people stop by to talk with our staff and ask questions, which was a great turnout and demonstrated the community’s interest and positive attitude toward the opening of the new clinic here in Mountain City.”
Schabert explained that during the outreach event, VA representatives were able to assist veterans by checking their eligibility, enrolling them for healthcare if eligible, and scheduling their first appointments at the new clinic after it opens.
From just across the state line in NC, Gene Miller came to the event with her husband and spoke highly of the convenience of the new clinic when she said, “I am very happy that we don’t have to drive so far anymore. This new clinic will save us more than a half-hour of driving. So we are looking forward to coming here instead.”
“We also assisted veterans who are currently receiving VA care and were interested in switching their primary care to the Mountain City clinic,” Schabert said.
A grand opening ceremony has not yet been confirmed, but the agency hopes to host a ribbon-cutting event in the future. The clinic will offer primary care and mental health, plus some specialty care via telehealth.
The VA will contact patients who are scheduled and will announce an opening date in the future. The new clinic will begin seeing patients by appointment on April 6.