By Conrad Dudderar
Two years after an outpatient health clinic for military veterans opened in Yukon, plans for a much-larger facility have been announced.
Because of steady growth and more veterans becoming eligible for benefits, the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System will open a VA “mega-clinic” featuring dental services in Yukon.
“We have a smaller clinic in Yukon right now,” Director Wade Vlosich said. “Our rate of growth in Yukon is vastly exceeding what we can provide in Yukon.
“We’ve submitted to our regional managers a request for a ‘replacement’ clinic.”
Vlosich is confident the new full-service VA clinic will be approved for the City of Yukon “because of the rate of growth.”
This large, multi-specialty, community-based outpatient clinic will feature six primary care teams along with full-time dental, physical therapy, mental health, cardiology, and other health services.
Yukon’s VA mega-clinic is expected to be 21,000-24,000 square feet.
“We’re hoping to have it open by the winter of 2024,” Vlosich added.
In December 2020, Oklahoma City’s VA Health Care System opened new outpatient clinics in Yukon and Norman to provide metro-area military veterans more options for healthcare services.
The Yukon VA Clinic, 1808 Commons Circle, has had two primary care teams, three mental health offices, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and three specialty care rotating rooms in a 6,700 square foot facility.
“We have no more room to expand in Yukon,” Vlosich explained. “When we opened that clinic, we had capacity for 2,400 veterans. We reached capacity within three months of having it open. We’ve had a lot of veterans requesting additional access to Yukon. We’re just now adding a third primary care provider.
“We realize it’s growing tremendously. With the PACT Act and the number of new veterans (10,000-26,000 in Oklahoma) slated to be able to receive veterans’ benefits, we have to grow that clinic.”
Plans call for both Yukon and Norman to have new VA mega-clinics.
“We have to add that space now or we’re not going to be able to take care of all the veterans who are asking for care,” Vlosich noted.
HELP CLOSE TO HOME
The VA clinic’s arrival in Yukon was welcomed in fall 2020.
“Our veterans in Yukon, Piedmont, Mustang, and other local communities no longer have to travel all the way to downtown Oklahoma City,” said Yukon’s Rick Cacini, a board member of the Oklahoma Veterans Committee.
“They are now able to see the VA medical personnel quickly and closer to their homes.”
Cacini, the founder and curator of the Yukon Veterans Museum, said Yukon is a “leader in our state” in helping veterans and providing the amenities they deserve.
When VA outpatient clinics first came to Yukon and Norman two years ago, Director Vlosich said, “It is our privilege and honor to care for our veterans, America’s heroes, and we are pleased to bring VA clinical services to these local communities.”