(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to locate a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in the South Puget Sound region. Senator Murray has lobbied the VA to increase access for veterans in the Lewis and Thurston County region and throughout Washington state. Murray is a senior member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. She has worked closely with Veterans Secretary James Peake on issues affecting Washington state since she voted for his confirmation in December.
"Today is a great day for veterans throughout the South Puget Sound region," said Senator Murray. "I am extremely pleased that the VA has recognized the health care quality and access needs of veterans in Lewis, Thurston and other Counties in the region. This announcement is a windfall for the many veterans who have sat in traffic, searched for transportation, or sacrificed their health concerns because of the lack of VA access in the area."
During the clinic’s first year of operations, the VA estimates that there will be 5,600 unique patients who will utilize the clinic from throughout the region, with an estimated 53,000 total visits. The clinic will be built in either Lewis or Thurston County. The clinic will provide primary and mental health care in the first year and will then evaluate the need for additional specialty services.
"In addition to providing critical access, this clinic will enhance the level of care for the region's veterans. Veterans will be able to get to know the doctors, nurses, and staff responsible for their care which will allow their medical histories to go beyond notes on a chart. Veterans will also be close enough to access preventative care services that have been proven to lower the risks of developing chronic diseases."
Senator Murray has heard from veterans in the region about the need for this clinic and has voiced those concerns to VA officials.
"For years, veterans in the region have told me how difficult it is to get to Tacoma, Seattle or Portland to receive the care they need. And through the years, I've worked to carry their concerns and stories back with me to Washington D.C. in order to provide the access they deserve. I applaud the VA's decision and am proud to have been able to fight to help make this day a reality."
The VA will now review potential options for locations in Thurston and Lewis Counties.