VA opens permanent Telehealth Clinic location at Demopolis hospital

Published 11:45 am Monday, September 10, 2018

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Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center opened the Demopolis Telehealth Clinic in Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital on August 21 after six years of serving the veterans of Demopolis and Marengo County through the Tuscaloosa center’s mobile medical unit.

The telehealth clinic is open 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday except for the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Damon Stevenson, public affairs officer for Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, said the clinic was added to BWWMH because “there’s a large population of veterans in Demopolis and Marengo County.” Hamilton, Alabama, has also recently had a clinic open in the area to replace the mobile medical unit.

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“Instead of the mobile medical unit, we worked with the hospitals in those two areas to get space in the hospital and establish a clinic,” Stevenson said.

According to acting Assistant Chief Nurse Lisa Koontz, the telehealth clinic will meet typical primary care and mental health needs as well as draw labs. It operates largely based on appointments. Two registered nurses and a licensed practical nurse are currently on-site, while a doctor serves patients via telehealth.

If necessary, patients may need to visit the Tuscaloosa center or be referred to other healthcare providers.

“We have partnerships with providers in the community to get veterans the care they need,” Stevenson said.

Koontz listed convenience as one benefit of the new telehealth clinic, since veterans can wait for their appointments inside rather than in their cars, as well as the ability to reach more veterans.

“We are excited to bring the services inside the hospital to better serve our veterans … They do not have to travel to their primary care appointments or to their mental health appointments, and it opens up access for them meaning they can be seen here in their hometown,” she said.

Veterans can visit the telehealth clinic on Tuesdays to make an appointment and to enroll in the VA Health Care System.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, September 5 issue of the Demopolis Times.)