Montgomery VA Health Care Center to consolidate services

Glen E. Struchtemeyer said recently that the facility will use the "medical home" model that the Army has adopted. It brings more medical staff and services to one location so patients don't have to go to difference offices for different services. Struchtemeyer is the CAVHCS director and was speaking to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers' veterans advisory council meeting in Montgomery.

Montgomery's new VA Health Care Center will have an aggressive construction schedule. It is set to begin providing direct health care support to area veterans in late 2012, with a lease scheduled to run through 2032, according to Al Bloom, public affairs officer with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.

The new facility "will also facilitate the modernization of health care services available to Alabama's growing veteran population," he said in a release. "Montgomery's new Health Care Center will consolidate primary and specialty care clinics and include integration of mental health components along with all ancillary and diagnostic support services.

"This consolidation will not only result in increased efficiency, but will also afford an opportunity for the modernization of the existing Montgomery VA Medical Center."

The Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in Montgomery also is expanding. The office has been authorized to hire 34 new employees to assist with processing veterans' claims for VA benefits. The new jobs came from federal dollars allocated under the Recovery Act, enacted by Congress in February 2009.

The new staffers will help handle the massive backlog of claims at the Montgomery regional office.

Struchtemeyer told veterans at the advisory council meeting that Montgomery has one of the largest backlogs of claims nationwide. His staff has a backlog of compensation and pension exams that support the regional office, and they've asked for help from other VA offices statewide to lighten the load.

The clinic at Fort Rucker is expanding, and the Tuskegee facility also is expanding and working to offer more services, including those for homeless veterans.

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