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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Expansion Of County VA Clinic Delayed; Doctor Needed

Expansion Of County VA Clinic Delayed; Doctor Needed

us-deptofveteransaffairs-seal-largeA plan to double the operating hours at the Potter County Veterans Clinic remains on “hold” while the Bath (N.Y.) VA Medical Center continues its efforts to fill a critical professional staff position at the clinic. The clinic is currently open on Thursdays. Plans call for expanded hours to Mondays and Thursdays, from 8 am to 4:30 pm. However, spokesman Brandon Gardner from the Bath facility recently informed county officials that the VA has been unable to secure the services of a doctor or a nurse practitioner to staff the clinic.

Gardner said the position would be full-time, with the individual’s time split between county-based clinics in Coudersport and Mansfield, with no overtime or weekend requirements. He assured county officials that funding is in place for the local expansion. The VA is continuing to shuffle its staff assignments at Bath while recruiting for the Potter and Tioga counties’ centers. Any certified doctor or nurse practitioner, or those with suggestions, should contact Gardner directly at 607-664-4799 or

Gardner said the VA also plans to periodically bring medical specialists to Potter County facility through the use of a mobile clinic, complete with examination/treatment rooms. Potter County Veterans’ Primary Care Office and Outreach Center opened last July at the county’s Maple View property (24 Buffalo Street), just off Rt. 872, south of the Rt. 6 intersection in east Coudersport. The center processes new enrollments, updates patient information, conducts screenings and delivers primary care and/or referrals, depending on each individual veteran’s needs. More information is available at (814) 260-9342. Appointments can also be scheduled by calling that number.

Bath VA partnered with the Potter County Board of Commissioners to bring the clinic to the county seat. During its first year of operation, more than 300 military veterans from Potter County enrolled for care. More are being added to the rolls each week. The VA has launched a concerted effort to reach out to veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Potter County’s total veteran population is about 1,700, and approximately 800 of them are eligible for most VA services based on income and other criteria.

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