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Officials from Fort Benning, Columbus and the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System cut the ribbon on the new VA Clinic July 8 and Building 9214. From left to right: MCoE Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Metheny, Dr. Robin Jackson, interim director, C... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 15, 2015) -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System's Fort Benning VA Clinic took place July 8 at Building 9214, 6635 Bass Road, expanding health care access for about 13,000 veterans living in and near Columbus.

As part of a resource sharing agreement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Fort Benning, the recently renovated 19,000-square-feet clinic will improve access, quality and cost effectiveness of health care, said Dr. Robin Jackson, interim director, CAVHS. Also available to veterans, with a referral from their Primary Care physician, are 18 specialty clinics housed in the Benning Martin Army Community Hospital - the newest hospital in the Army inventory.

"As part of our Soldier for Life campaign and the Warrior Ethos, we'll never leave a fallen comrade. We wanted to make sure that we could serve the veteran population on Fort Benning," said Col. Scott B. Avery, hospital commander.

The Fort Benning expansion will offer a full complement of Primary Care providers with integrated mental health services, expanding staffing to four Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Teams, creating availability for 4,000 veterans, increasing Primary Care Patient Aligned Care Teams and implementing tele-health hubs to provide an additional 96 appointments per week.

"Those resources will help us expand access, expand treatment opportunities for veterans, and really make a better treatment opportunity for all," Jackson said.

Primary Care services for qualifying beneficiaries have been relocated from the Columbus Community-Based Outpatient Clinic at 1310 13th Ave. to the Fort Benning VA Clinic. Dietary, social work, clinical pharmacy and laboratory services also will be available to veterans at the clinic on post.

Shuttle service is available weekdays between the Columbus CBOC, Fort Benning clinic and the new Martin Army Community Hospital. Veterans and beneficiaries need a photo ID to enter Fort Benning.