Hundreds of area veterans, residents and city leaders celebrated the opening of the new 33,000-square foot Veteran's Affairs clinic in Tomball Oct. 8.
The clinic, at 1200 W. Main St., will open to the public Oct. 15.
The clinic will give area veterans a more local opportunity to seek medical treatment. Tomball and Magnolia residents currently have to travel to Houston or Conroe to get to the nearest clinic.
"Our goal is for you not to have to drive to Houston," Dr. Anna Teague, associate chief of staff for VA community-based clinics, told the crowd at the ribbon cutting. "Our goal is to provide as much of your core healthcare needs here."
One-third of the patients expected at the Tomball clinic will transfer from the VA's Conroe clinic, Teague said.
The Tomball clinic will offer services such as primary health care, mental health care, women's specialty care, phlebotomy, X-ray, teleretinal imaging, optometry and audiology services. The clinic will also provide veterans with access to other specialists associated with MEDVAMC through telemedicine technology.
"I am very excited about this building," Teague said. "Patient-centered [care] is the focus of this building."
The clinic entered a 20-year lease for the property in 2011 for $1 million per year. It will operate on taxpayer dollars.
The facility will start with three and a half primary care teams. Each team includes a doctor, two nurses and a clerk, and cares for between 1,200 to 1,300 patients. The clinic expects to increase to more than seven primary care teams soon after opening and hire an additional 18 employees.
Tomball was chosen due to research and census data that indicated a large number of veterans lived in the area, the Houston VA said. There are an estimated 46,000 veterans living in the greater Tomball area. MEDVAMC estimates it will serve 8,000 veterans through its Tomball location in its first year.
The Houston VA—the organization behind the new Tomball clinic—hired Nabholtz Construction Services to begin renovating the former Klein Super Market building a year ago. The building was left vacant after the supermarket closed in April 2011.
"This has been a long time coming, and I'm very excited about this," said State Rep. Allen Fletcher, who represents District 130.
Founded in 1945, the MEDVAMC is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder clinic, epilepsy and cancer centers, and an award-winning cardiac and general surgery program. MEDVAMC has clinics in Lufkin, Beaumont, Conroe, Richmond, Lake Jackson, Texas City and Galveston. It celebrated the opening of a new Katy location earlier this year and has been planning the Tomball location for about seven years.
Veteran's can enroll for care at www.va.gov, by calling 800-639-5137 or in person at the clinic after Oct. 15.