HAYWARD,WI–Thursday morning marked the grand opening of expansion for veterans healthcare in Hayward.
It’s something Army veteran Paul Wharton says is a long time coming.
For many Hayward area veterans, a doctor’s appointment at the VA clinic usually means a trip to Minneapolis or even Chippewa.
Wharton says, “I can be here in 20 minutes. See the doctor, see the nurse, have a lab test done or whatever needs to be done and I’m back home. I’ve taken maybe two hours at most out of my day. When in the past I’m looking at an entire whole day.”
Patrick Kelly the Director of Minneapolis VA Healthcare System says, “It means is veterans save a full day of really driving back and forth to the Twin Cities and getting more of their right there where they live.”
The clinic is the third in Hayward since 2007 after the need out-grew the previous two.
The new clinic is twice the size of the former one and has much more to offer.
“So mental health services, primary care services, a whole variety of telehealth services. So veterans can follow-up from their surgical care. They can get some eye services via telehealth.” says Kelly.
For Wharton and the one thousand other vets, it means they’re getting the care they’ve earned.
“The main thing is the convenience of having this facility here is tremendous. It’ll be able to accommodate more patients and more of the veterans and just give better care,” says Wharton.
Wharton says opening the clinic in time for Veteran’s Day makes it even more special.
Wharton says, “Being veterans is kind of a family affair in my family. But to have it happen on Veteran’s Day is that much more indicative of the commitment that the Veterans Administration has to the veterans in Northwest Wisconsin.”
The clinic has been servicing patients since October 10th.