By Kathleen Swift • Photos by Savanah Mandeville
The opening of the new VA Clinic in Joplin at 3015 Connecticut Avenue brings care and services closer to home for many veterans. George Drexel, acting assistant medical center director, explained the move to Joplin increased the number of veterans within 30 minutes of the VA clinic to 9,500.
“Our goal was to move services closer to veterans for easier access. It is estimated that the clinic will provide healthcare to 7,000 veterans on an annual basis.”
The resources available at the VA Clinic in Joplin cover a wide range of health care services. “A wide array of services is available in Joplin,” said Drexel. “We offer primary care, mental health care, social work services and radiology.
“We offer two distance care modalities through Telehealth and VA Video Connect that connect veterans with their health care team from anywhere.”
The clinic reaches out to the homeless veterans in the area, too, explained Wanda Shull, public affairs officer. “The VA has a good working relationship with community services in Joplin. Working with the community, we can get an idea of who those vets might be, and we go out and offer services to them. Many aren’t aware that they are eligible. We have a robust set of comprehensive programs to work with homeless veterans.”
Mental health care is important for many veterans, and that, too, is available at the VA clinic through counseling and group therapy. A peer support program connects a trained vet who can share experience and knowledge with fellow veterans as they make the transition into civilian life.
In addition, the Joplin VA Clinic offers an onsite consulting pharmacy that can help with urgently needed medications. There is an onsite lab for blood draws, imaging services such as x-ray and echo cardiograms, and hearing aid repairs and fittings. All services are available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Access to services is important for veterans, and Drexel said the Joplin clinic does “very well at getting patients scheduled. If you are a new patient, you can get an appointment in 14 days. If you are a new mental health patient, you will be scheduled in 2 days. Established patients can get an appointment in 3 to 4 days. There are 44 people staffing the clinic with four patient-aligned care teams consisting of an RN and LPN and a medical support assistant.”
When you enter the clinic, you will be met with a smile, understanding and a team that is ready to help you and that has your best interest at heart.
How do I apply for VA Healthcare?
- Visit www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/
- Call 844.495.8387
- Visit any VA site of care