Today, Congressman Joe Donnelly attended the grand opening of the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in South Bend. This facility is more than double the size of the old facility -- from 7,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet. It will be used as an interim facility before a new $6.7 million, 65,000 square feet facility opens, expected in 2015.
"I am pleased to help open the interim veterans' health clinic this afternoon because we owe our veterans a debt of gratitude for their service to our country," said Donnelly. "It is incumbent upon us to see that our veterans receive the best quality medical care and benefits and that those services are provided with promptness and respect. Since I came to Congress, this effort has been one of my top priorities. This new facility is more than double the size of the old one and will serve our veterans well until the opening of the $6.7 million veterans' health facility, expected in 2015."
The services offered at the interim facility include primary care; mental health, including medication management; individual and group counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse treatment; laboratory; prescription; and specialty care referrals to VA medical centers in Marion, Fort Wayne, and Indianapolis.
As planned, the expanded VA CBOC will be a leased, 65,000 square foot facility, nearly 10 times the size of the old South Bend clinic and nearly four times the size of the interim facility that opened this afternoon. It will offer primary care; expanded mental health care; laboratory, radiology, audiology, and pharmacy services; and outreach programs for newly-returned veterans. Donnelly will continue to advocate for the clinic to contract with local hospitals to provide some inpatient care for veterans. The location of the new facility and whether it will be new construction or in an existing building have not yet been determined by the VA. The VA expects to open the new facility in 2015.
Donnelly has worked with the VA to improve medical care for veterans in the South Bend area since he took office in 2007. In April 2009, VA Secretary General Eric Shinseki announced approval of a new medical facility in South Bend. This project was included in the President's FY2012 budget request submitted to Congress last year. In December 2011, the bill appropriating $6,731,000 for an expanded VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in South Bend was signed into law.
Donnelly has also successfully advocated for the opening of the Logansport Veterans' Multi-Use Outreach Clinic in June 2008, the Goshen VA Community-Based Outreach Clinic in October 2008, and the Peru VA Community-Based Outreach Clinic in June 2010.