Vet­er­ans town hall pro­vides re­sources, up­dates on new Eastern Bal­ti­more County VA clinic

The Avenue News - - NEWS - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­[email protected]­pub.com

A Vet­er­ans Town Hall and job fair was held at the Rosedale Se­nior on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 8 with the pur­pose of keep­ing lo­cal vet­er­ans in­formed and con­nected to avail­able re­sources.

The event’s first speaker was Ming T. Vin­centi, the Pub­lic Af­fairs Spe­cial­ist and Com­mu­nity Out­reach Co­or­di­na­tor for the VA Mary­land Health Care Sys­tem, who pro­vided up­dates on the much-an­tic­i­pated open­ing of the new Eastern Bal­ti­more County VA Out­pa­tient Clinic in Rosedale.

The of­fi­cial open­ing of the 140,000 square foot clinic at the Franklin Square Pro­fes­sional Cen­ter was, at first, planned for Au­gust of this year. It was then moved to this win­ter but has been fur­ther de­layed to early 2019, said Vin­centi.

She added that she took a tour of the fa­cil­ity a few months ago and while the out­side and struc­ture of the build­ing seems to be ready to go, in­side there is still a lot of con­struc­tion and setup to be done.

Jan­uary is the goal now, weather per­mit­ting, but some fur­ther de­lays may hap­pen.

The Eastern Bal­ti­more County VA Clinic will of­fer pri­mary, men­tal, and women’s health care along with so­cial work as­sis­tance and var­i­ous med­i­cal screen­ings, re­plac­ing the ser­vices once pro­vided by the Fort Howard VA Clinic which closed in 2016.

Vin­centi said that the Mary­land VA spent a long time look­ing for the best place for the new clinic since they wanted some­thing that was both spa­cious and was easy enough to get too with bus lines and other ma­jor high­ways.

“I think we ac­com­plished that,” she said.

The new clinic will be sig­nif­i­cantly larger than the Fort Howard lo­ca­tion, tak­ing over the sec­ond floor of the build­ing on 5235 King Ave. The VA will be 3 pri­mary care providers to ser­vice the clinic.

Vin­centi said that once the clinic is up and run­ning, ap­point­ment de­lay times should be re­duced, which is some­thing the Mary­land VA has been work­ing on im­prov­ing through­out Mary­land.

Once the open­ing date is con­firmed, en­rolled pa­tients in the area will be no­ti­fied via mail. The clinic will of­fer ap­point­ments Mon­day through Fri­day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Those in­ter­ested in ap­ply­ing for VA health care can en­roll by vis­it­ing Vets. gov or call­ing 887-222-VETS (8387).

The next speaker was Dana S. Burl, the direc­tor of the Out­reach and Ad­vo­cacy Pro­gram through Mar yland Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs. She ex­plained that the small state gov­ern­ment agency has 5 core pro­grams to as­sist vet­er­ans, in­clud­ing their most-used ser­vice and ben­e­fits pro­gram.

“They are dili­gently as­sist­ing vet­er­ans, de­pen­dents, and sur­vivors, pro­vid­ing them with rep­re­sen­ta­tion on their be­half when they are fil­ing for ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing com­pen­sa­tion for dis­abil­ity, pen­sion, sur vivor’s ben­e­fits,” said Burl.

Cur­rently, the only state vet­er­ans home in Mary­land is Char­lotte Hall Vet­er­ans Home in St. Mary’s County. But Burl said the or­ga­ni­za­tion is hop­ing to see sec­ond state vet­er­ans home come to Mary­land, and more specif­i­cally, to Bal­ti­more County, soon.

“But that is still a very fluid con­cept at this point. It’s a vi­sion of ours and we’re very hope­ful to see that one day.”

Other speak­ers at the town hall in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Veteran Le­gal Aid, which pro­vides free le­gal ser­vices for vet­er­ans, the Mary­land Cen­ter for Veteran Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing, a long-term re­cov­ery hous­ing pro­gram for home­less vet­er­ans and sub­stance abuse treat­ment, and the Dun­dalk Vet Cen­ter, which pro­vides read­just­ment coun­selling ser­vices and in­di­vid­ual, mar­riage, fam­ily and group ther­a­pies for com­bat vet­er­ans.

This is the 4th year Del. Ric Met­z­gar (R-6) and the rest of the del­e­ga­tion has hosted a Vet­er­ans Town Hall.

“It is an event that I look for­ward to do­ing for our vet­er­ans be­cause ev­ery year new in­for­ma­tion comes out that the vet­er­ans do not know,” Met­z­gar told the Av­enue News.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE VA MARY­LAND HEALTH CARE SYS­TEM

The Eastern Bal­ti­more County Out­pa­tient VA Out­pa­tient Clinic is ex­pected to open by early 2019.

Ming T. Vin­centi, the Pub­lic Af­fairs Spe­cial­ist/ Com­mu­nity Out­reach Co­or­di­na­tor for the VA Mary­land Health Care Sys­tem, gives the crowd more in­for­ma­tion on the forth­com­ing Eastern Bal­ti­more County VA Out­pa­tient Clinic in Rosedale.

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