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VA announces work on new facilities in eastern KY

Lexington VA Health Care System

Two counties in eastern Kentucky will soon have expanded Veterans Affairs clinics.

Last month in Perry County, representatives with the VA and county officials broke ground on a new healthcare center in Hazard that will span over 13,000 square feet and provide primary care, outpatient mental health, women’s health, physical therapy, and home-based primary care services for veterans in the region.

Phil Branham is the Assistant Director with the Lexington VA Health Care System. He said Hazard’s new clinic will allow veterans to get help when they need it, instead of waiting until it’s too late.

“That’s something that we want our veterans to know. Come to us as soon as possible and get your healthcare. It’s such the same story of, ‘well, I didn’t want to take that spot away from another veteran.’ That’s not what they’re doing,” he said. “They have earned and deserved this healthcare, and we want them to come out and receive it. Our job is to improve the lives of veterans, and that’s what we want to do.”

Also last month, officials announced a timeline for the completion of Floyd County’s planned expansion of the VA clinic in Prestonsburg. That project aims to double the size of the current clinic and provide new services like on-site imaging and optometry. Additionally, the expansion will allow for an increase in telemedicine and specialty surgery capabilities.

Brian Nimmo is the Director of the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center in Huntington. He said the expanded facility in Prestonsburg is vital to the region, because having access to care creates better outcomes for veterans.

“This helps us increase the services that we’re providing for veterans. It helps us with the connection the VA has to veterans, which is incredibly important because to get veterans to use the system and long with that, actually access healthcare, we have to have a connection there with them,” he said. “So, this is a really significant development, one that we’ve been working on for years.”

Officials said Hazard’s clinic is expected to open their doors by Veterans Day of 2024. The facility in Prestonsburg is still in the design phase, and construction is expected to be completed by 2026.