New clinic for veterans opens in Worcester

Federal and state officials on Monday marked the approach of Veterans Day by cutting the ribbon on a new Worcester clinic they said will help the region's veterans get care closer to home while equipping the next generation of medical professionals with skills to respond to veterans' specific needs.

Congressman Jim McGovern said the opening of the 48,000-square-foot community-based outpatient clinic on the campus of the UMass Chan Medical School, a partnership between the school and the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System, came after "lots of bumps in the road."

"This day is a decade in the making," he said. "Somebody said to me, you started this when you had hair. It really wasn't that long, but it was a long time, and the process to get here, as I said, has been a roller coaster. It involved countless calls, letters, emails, meetings in my office, in Washington and here in Worcester, and an enormous amount of patience."

The clinic, on the first two floors of a new building, features 65 exam, consultation and procedure rooms where veterans will be served by care teams, and provides access to a pharmacy and specialty care like radiology and physical therapy.

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said the clinic will also provide caregiver support. He said the nation as a whole makes a promise to military members — "You take care of us, we'll take care of you. You get our back, we'll get yours. You fight for us, we'll fight for you" — and that the VA and its affiliated medical schools are among those most responsible for keeping it.

"Opening this extraordinary new facility helps us do just that," he said. "It is the most recent improvement in a long evolution in the way in which we care for vets."


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