Douglas County to see veterans home |

Douglas County to see veterans home

GARDNERVILLE – In a month or so, Douglas County veterans will no longer be required to travel to Reno for outpatient care, something U.S. Navy veteran Richard Bonebrake says could make his life a lot simpler.

“I am 50 percent disabled and use the Reno veteran’s hospital on a quarterly basis,” he said. “If what they plan to put in here will service people like me, who need to see a doctor and get our regular care there, it will be a very good thing.”

Bonebrake said a trip to the Reno veterans facility, the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center, can take most of a day, especially if he needs lab work done and has to wait for it to be processed before coming back home. Add to that the traffic and road construction, and there goes the day, he said.

“There are a lot of veterans like me who would use a Minden or Gardnerville clinic if they provide the right kind of care,” Bonebrake said. “My next door neighbor goes there – we’re not serious, we just need monitoring. People already come from as far away as Bishop, Calif., and other parts of California, plus the Lake Tahoe area, to the Reno hospital, so I think there are a lot of us who would use it.”

The clinic is projected to serve about 1,000 patients per year, according to Dr. Robert Wiebe, director of the VA Sierra Pacific Network.

There are eight medical facilities in Southern Nevada – three which are community-based outpatient clinics. The Reno facility currently serves Northern Nevada.

The Community Based Outpatient Clinic was announced Monday by U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., and Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.

The idea for the clinic came as a direct response from veterans asking their representatives for a clinic closer to home, according to Bryan’s rural director Tom Baker.

“After we’d had a number of veterans call Sen. Bryan’s office asking for a closer clinic, the senator talked to Gary Whitfield, the director of the VA hospital in Reno about it, and asked, ‘Is there any way we can get someone here?'” Baker said. “He (Bryan) later got a call from Mr. Whitfield saying they had made it in their budget to get the clinic.”

Gibbons said he is pleased with the decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Baker said the location for the outpatient clinic was still out to bid, but he expected the facility to be running by mid-October, staffed with two or more doctors, a nurse and a clerk, initially scheduled for two half days a week.

“And the way I understand it, if the demand is there, they’ll open for more hours,” Baker said.

Many veterans don’t use their benefits because of the inconvenience, he said. The Carson Valley clinic is intended to provide comprehensive primary care with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.

For information, call Bryan’s Carson City office, 885-9111.

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