By Carlos Morales
West Texas is now home to a new clinic for veterans.
Officials with the West Texas Veterans Affairs Health System opened a 5,000 square foot clinic Tuesday in Fort Stockton, which is replacing a previous facility that opened in 2010. The former facility was part of a shared space, but the new one is a standalone clinic, said Sheila Austin with the West Texas VA.
The clinic is outfitted with telemedicine and behavioral health services, and will serve hundreds of veterans across Brewster, Pecos and Reeves Counties.
The VA system in West Texas has been marred historically by poor ranks. Both the VA Hospitals in El Paso and in Big Spring have received low scores for the last few years. In 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs gave the hospitals a score of 1 out of 5.
The hospitals are evaluated on a range of factors, from wait times to death rates.
To ensure the Fort Stockton clinic’s quality, West Texas VA officials will monitor the site, said Austin.
“Those folks keep a close eye, through administrative processes, through being on site, inspecting and making site visits,” said Austin. “We also like hearing from our veterans. Our veterans keep us informed on what works well. They make recommendations — this is their clinic.”
The clinic is open every Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. But Austin said the West Texas VA is prepared to expand their hours.
“[A]s more and more of our veterans enroll and seek care here, we’re preparing to expand to meet the need.”
Veterans needing specialty treatment may still need to travel to El Paso or Big Spring.