The Veterans Administration will break ground Dec. 11 at 1 p.m., for a new community based outpatient clinic. The new clinic is located on Fort Knox, adjacent to the newly constructed Ireland Army Health Clinic, and will replace the space it occupies within the old IRAHC building. It is expected to be open by early spring 2020.

The Fort Knox VA CBOC is believed to be the only one constructed on a Department of Defense installation within its own building, according to Jodie Babb, the Louisville VA chief administrative officer, and will offer fully integrated primary care. Those services include mental health, social work, telehealth, nutrition, pharmacy consultation--and they will be offered in a larger space than the current facility offers.

"The current CBOC is an estimated 10,000-square-feet but the new CBOC (will be about) 18,093-square- feet," Babb said. "The reason it's larger is to accommodate additional workload, additional staff, a lab and to support an integrated patient care model."

The work load he referred to is the expected addition of more veterans utilizing the new facility. Babb said the current enrollment at the Fort Knox VA CBOC is approximately 5,600, and with the additional staff he said they can accommodate approximately 6,500.

Col. Kevin Bass, the Ireland Army Health Clinic and Fort Knox Medical Department Activity commander, said he and his staff are excited about the increased capacity in the new VA health clinic--a healthcare partner of IRAHC.

"When the current IRAHC facility transitioned from a hospital to a clinic its capabilities were lessened, so when the new IRAHC building is finished it can only accommodate about 12,000 beneficiaries," he explained. "Military treatment facilities are able to see retirees on a space available basis, and Ireland has done that for years. But with the restrictions placed on the new buildings construction, we will need to leverage our partners to make certain retirees continue to get the care they deserve."

Having the new VA health clinic located next door to the new IRAHC facility will be helpful to IRAHC's goal of ensuring its beneficiaries get timely, quality health care, Bass added, because some of the veterans who currently receive care at IRAHC will be able to see doctors in the new VA clinic.

And Babb said the VA welcomes the chance to partner with IRAHC to care for veteran patients.
"We hope to continue to collaborate with any and all services that would benefit both DOD and VA eligible patients," he explained.

Editor's note: The ground breaking is open to the public.