New VA clinic opens in Idaho Falls
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IDAHO FALLS — Nearly 3,000 veterans can find health care closer to home with the new Veterans Affairs Outreach Clinic in Idaho Falls.
The outreach clinic on South Woodruff Avenue is three times the size of its predecessor in nearby Ammon. Air Force veteran and Idaho Falls resident LeRoy Duenes said he could only get into the old clinic some of the time and needed to travel to Pocatello when he couldn’t get in.
“Now I just come out my backyard, and the clinic is right here,” Duenes said.
Assistant Chief of Primary Care Jeremy Timm said the old clinic only had enough space for one primary care team.
“Now our capacity to care for veterans goes from about 900 to almost 3,000,” he said.
Timm said the Teladoc system in each exam room will greatly benefit veterans. Teladoc, a telemedicine service, allows patients at a clinic to video chat with a specialist in a different location. This allows patients to receive specialized care without having to travel.
“If we can provide telemedicine or tele-specialty care up here in the Idaho Falls clinic, (veterans) will be able to come right here, see a VA specialist for whatever care they need … rather than either having to travel to Salt Lake or see someone they don’t know out in the community,” Timm said.
Mark Butler, a doctor at the clinic, said the facility can provide for all primary care needs.
Butler has been working with veterans for 31 years. He said he chose to treat veterans and work in VA facilities because that is where he feels at home.
“They need love and care like everyone else,” Butler said. “Sometimes they need a little more as far as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder or depression or things like that. They do have special needs, and we really try to accommodate that.”
Duenes said veterans need someone to care about them.
“They love this nation,” Duenes said. “What can we do to pay them back? I don’t know that we can do enough. To build a clinic is an amazing thing, and thank you. Thank you to the American people for doing that.”
The clinic officially opened in November and held its grand opening Thursday. The clinic is at 640 S. Woodruff Avenue in Idaho Falls. It can be reached at (208) 522-2922.