With construction on the new VA Clinic underway, it’s only a matter of time before Veterans are able to get the help they need. Construction officially began in April of 2019, but the timeframe to complete this $12.3 million project was 30 months. That will mean this facility will be completed by October of 2021. This facility will still be under the Amarillo VA Umbrella, but it will allow Veterans in the Lubbock area to receive better care.
In West Texas and even the New Mexico area, there are about 320,000 veterans living in the area. Although despite this, only 160,000 enrolled in the current in the VA. In Lubbock alone, there are about 30,000 veterans but only 8,00 use the services of the VA. This made the need for a new clinic a must.
The Project Beginning
The creation of this clinic has been discussed for years. Back in 2009, four retired generals had created a 16-person committee looking to improve vertean health care in Lubbock. The Generals included Lt. Gen. Bernhard Mittemeyer, Maj. Gen. Walter Huffman, Maj. Gen. Edgar Murphy and Brig. Gen. Gary Harber. After they met, they decided a new location was needed, especially one close to Tech as they could take advantage of specialty doctors, students and equipment. They ended up receiving help from many people in making this clinic a reality, and this included Lubbock’s former U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, who is Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
In 2013, The U.S. House passed HR 3521, the Department of Veterans Affairs Major Medical Facility Lease Authorization Act. It approved funding for the creation of several major veterans facilities in states including Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. As a result, the Amarillo VA Healthcare system requested that a new clinic be installed in Lubbock.
The New Clinic
The Clinic itself will have 94,000 square-feet of space, more than double the size of the current clinic. In addition, this Clinic will be located near the Texas Tech Health Sciences center and the University Medical Center. The VA and TTUHSC will also have an added partnership that focuses on providing more specialty needs and social services. Not only will this help the veterans themselves, but it will help their families as well. Plus, having the location be much closer prevents the need to travel long hours to either Amarillo or Albuquerque for treatment. The clinic will also focus on treating traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, there will be 30,000 square feet of space dedicated to treating mental and behavioral health, and the rest will be for general medical needs.
Overall, this new VA clinic was a necessity. The current one is not able to provide every veteran with the care they need simply due to size. As a result, having this much larger multi story clinic here in Lubbock will provide every veteran with the appropriate care they need. While it’s still a while before the facility is complete, it’s only a matter of time until this Clinic is fully up and operational.