Renovation of VA Clinic in Superior will better serve veteransA multimillion-dollar project to make better use of space at the Twin Ports VA Outpatient Clinic is creating the opportunity to serve more veterans with a wider array of health services.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
A multimillion-dollar project to make better use of space at the Twin Ports VA Outpatient Clinic is creating the opportunity to serve more veterans with a wider array of health services.
Next week, Veterans Administration officials unveil for the public the renovation project that was years in the making.
While the clinic never closed during the major renovation, the Twin Ports VA Clinic is celebrating a reopening from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 12 at the clinic adjacent to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Hospital in Superior.
VA and Essentia Health officials will make brief remarks, followed by tours of the renovated facility.
“The clinic was completely remodeled, said Dr. Clyde Markon, who oversees 12 VA clinics in the region, including the one in Superior. “We had a lot of space that over 20 years ago was probably well thought-out, but as times have changed, it turned out to be not used.”
The renovation more than doubled the number of examining rooms available to serve a growing number of veterans that get medical services at the clinic.
Markon said when he started as the medical director at the Twin Ports clinic about eight years ago, the clinic served about 2,000 veterans. Now, almost 7,000 patients receive services there, growth driven by World War II, Korean and Vietnam-era war veterans with increasingly complicated ailments, and by current veterans entitled to free health care services for five years after demobilization.
The renovation also allowed expansion of services available to veterans.
“We now have an audiology department to help with hearing aid problems,” Markon said. “We will almost certainly have two audiologists here.”
The new facility features a soundproof room adjacent to a room where the audiologist would perform hearing tests.
The clinic also features two ophthalmology rooms where veterans can have their eyes checked.
Markon said veterans also will be able to get glasses onsite.
The clinic will have an optometrist and optician to provide the vision services veterans need, Markon said.
And veterans will no longer have to make the trek to the hospital or Duluth with the completion of the renovation project.
Markon said the clinic contracted with Essentia Health to provide physical therapy services locally, but those services are now available in the VA Clinic.
“Essentia did a great job, but the VA is no longer going to contract for services,” Markon said. “It’s just the way of the future.”
Mental health services also are being expanded at the clinic and there will be a greater focus on women’s health services. The clinic features examining rooms specifically designed to accommodate women.
The clinic has doubled space for procedures and completely revamped the onsite laboratory.
Another feature of the renovation is the ability to use technology to consult specialists nationwide from the Superior-based clinic through V-Tell, which links the Superior Clinic to the hospital in Minneapolis.
“There’s very few specialists that can’t be seen through V-Tell,” Markon said. He said the Internet-based consultation equipment would allow patients and medical personnel to consult with any specialist in the United States.
The technology also allows staff to train with medical professionals at the hospital in Minneapolis without leaving Superior.