ROSEBURG, Ore. — Veterans in Eugene are looking forward to the opening of the community-based outpatient clinic, but they aren’t the only ones. Staff with the VA Roseburg Healthcare System are also excited about what this will do to the care of all the veterans they serve.
Roseburg’s veterans affairs hospital serves nearly 30,000 vets each year. Thirty-four percent of them are from Lane County. The new clinic being built in Eugene will lessen the load for the Roseburg center.
“To be honest, I didn’t think they’d ever build it,” said Vietnam veteran Joseph Manning.
Manning lives in Springfield and makes quite a few trips down to Roseburg for medical care.
“Just last week I had to go. I drove down for an hour. I had the procedure done in 15 minutes and called her saying I was done and I’m on my way home. And she said, ‘Oh, that was quick.’ But then there’s another hour home, so it is inconvenient,” Manning said.
Staff at the VA Roseburg Healthcare System say they understand completely.
“Saving 140-mile round trip to get the services closer to home is really what we’re going for here, and I think that’s going to be the real benefit, and they’re also able to get the ancillary services they can’t get now,” said Daniel Ritchie, facility planner.
Those services include radiology, pharmacy, labs. Having those closer to home is just one benefit of the new Eugene center.
“The fact that we’re building it from the ground up allows us to put in a design with a patient focus, the focus on patient-centered care and what they need. So that’s the exciting part for me to be able to design it for the veterans,” Ritchie said.
The new clinic will also lessen the load a bit for the Roseburg center, which cares for about 26,000 veterans each year. Commuting vets agree it’s a win-win for everyone.
“People want it to happen, and it’s not going to hurt Roseburg at all. They’re very busy, and they’re getting new facilities. They need a facility here. It’ll be a godsend. It’ll really be a good deal to have it,” Manning said.
Construction is expected to begin on the new clinic next year with an estimated completion in the spring of 2015.