Construction proceeds at a furious pace as the new Veterans Affairs clinic in southeast Austin draws closer to completion.
Right now, it takes Central Texas veterans five months longer than the average veteran to get their claims processed. The new 184,000 square-foot facility should help fix that problem.
Thomas Smith and Greg Vrentas oversee Central Texas Veterans Affairs, which serves 2,300 veterans. It’s the second largest Veterans Affairs group in the country, and is the fastest growing market.
“We have taken last year over 285,000 outpatient visits between the Austin outpatient clinic proper and the mental health facility that is over on Oltorf and I-35," Vrentas s said.
Vrentas says they are looking forward to the new building, which will be the biggest VA clinic in the country, because it will bring more efficient services.
"It provides the correct mix of clinicians to exams rooms and then with the additions of all the specialties, it will provide a more rapid throughput relative to visits," he said.
Right now, some Austin veterans have to travel all the way to Temple or Waco for specialty services.
"We are talking about an hour transition up to Temple and back so that's two hours a day plus the time of the visit and that's an extensive investment for the veteran," Vrentas said. "This nation has made a promise to veterans since the time of Lincoln forward and that is to care for those that have defended this nation and this clinic has exemplified that promise."
The entire second level of the clinic will house a range of specialty services from Oncology to minor surgeries.
The building will be finished in December and will open up in February.
Gallery Images by Develon Douglas / YNN
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