ST. GEORGE – The St. George Community-Based Outpatient Clinic held a dedication ceremony Thursday for a new, larger facility, located at 230 North 1680 East Bldg. N in St. George. This expansion allows the clinic to offer additional health care services to military veterans in the area.
The dedication was held at 11 a.m. in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Preceded by a stiff wind, a sudden downpour started during the Pledge of Allegiance.
While members of the Marine Corps League and Southern Utah Patriot Guard Riders tried to keep the tent on the ground, remarks from the invited speakers, including St. George Mayor Jon Pike and Pastor Rick Nerud of Calvary Chapel St. George, were kept brief.
“So many of our citizens in St. George and Washington County are veterans, and services are spread pretty thin,” Pike said. “It’s so nice to have an expanded clinic to serve more veterans in a more efficient manner. They need it and they deserve it.”
The clinic was established in 1998. Over the last decade, the St. George area has experienced a population boom of veterans of retirement age; nearly 1 in 4 residents has served in the military. Scrambling to provide adequate care for more than 200 patients with increasing health needs, clinic manager George Dunnigan and his staff requested funding from the VA for the expansion.
“This clinic has been a long time coming and we’re excited,” said Jill Atwood, public affairs officer for the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, which encompasses the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and 10 regional clinics in Utah, Nevada and Idaho. “Our veterans’ health care would suffer without it.”
About 20 percent larger, the new facility offers more local options to veterans who, for financial or health reasons, cannot make the trip to Salt Lake City. Services include primary and some specialty care, vision and hearing, women’s health, diabetes treatment, extended case management, mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and readjustment counseling. All equipment is new and state-of-the-art, including the telehealth system, which allows specialists at the medical center to examine, diagnose and follow up with patients via webcam. The clinic also works with the St. George Vet Center, another VA facility focusing exclusively on counseling for combat veterans.
“We care for the whole veteran,” Atwood said. “We’re not just treating the symptoms; we’re contributing to each patient’s overall health and well-being.”
Following the ribbon-cutting, the crowd moved inside as quickly as possible. Clinic staff, many of them volunteers, offered tours of the facility and refreshments.
“As a veteran and a patient of this new facility, I am excited that one more giant step in the support of our veteran community has taken place,” J.R. Lehmkuhl said. “With the clinic, or new veterans home, and the support of our local veteran service organizations, veterans have support and information available right here in St. George to help improve their lives.”
It’s also a place of camaraderie, where a brotherhood of survivors of a tough and often thankless job can gather to support each other.
“That’s really important to me and enormously important to the veterans,” Pike said.
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VA St. George Community-Based Outpatient Clinic
- Address: 230 North 1680 East Bldg. N, St. George
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Contact/more info: 435-634-7608 or website
- St. George Vet Center aims to be ‘ground zero’ for local veterans
- Southern Utah Veterans Home dedicated with full honors; STGnews Videocast and Photo Gallery
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