MONTGOMERY, Ala. (August 18, 2010) -- Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) will officially open the Wiregrass Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Lyster Army Health Clinic, Fort Rucker, Ala. during a short ceremony Friday, September 3, at 10:30 am.
The grand opening of the Wiregrass CBOC is the delivery on a promise made to Veterans of the Wiregrass Region to expand services - closer to where Veterans live.
The expansion of services associated with the move of the VA clinic to the Second Floor of the Lyster Army Health Clinic is also a tangible example of an increase in collaborations involving the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD).
In August of 2007 CAVHCS announced the signing of an expanded sharing agreement with Lyster Army Health Clinic, Fort Rucker, Ala., which lead to the opening of the VA Wiregrass Outpatient Clinic March 21, 2008.
As a result many of the Veterans in the Wiregrass Region no longer had to drive to CAVHCS’ Medical Centers in Montgomery, Ala. or Tuskegee, Ala. for primary services like X-ray, laboratory work, optometry consultations or pharmacy support.
The original 2007 sharing agreement coincided with a Joint Incentive Fund (JIF) project approval. JIF is a result of Section 721 of the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which required the establishment of a joint fund to provide incentives for creating innovative DoD/VA sharing initiatives.
The purpose of JIF, which is administered by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), is to provide seed money for creative sharing initiatives at facility, regional and national levels to facilitate the mutually beneficial coordination, use, or exchange of health care resources.
The goal is to improve the access to and quality and cost effectiveness of, the health care provided to beneficiaries of both departments.
JIF projects compete annually for developmental dollars and must benefit both the DOD and VA party and support the VA/DOD joint strategic plan.
They must improve the quality and access to care for VA and DOD beneficiaries, show a positive return on investment and be self-sustaining after two years.
In June of 2010, the momentum of increased local Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense collaboration resulted in the installation of a Hitachi Open Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Toshiba Computed Axial Tomography (CAT) Scan suite in Lyster Health Clinic.
This $3.5 million joint investment resulted in the delivery of a state-of-the-art imaging capability, which provides a direct diagnostic benefit for both the active duty and Veteran communities.
In August 2008 CAVHCS and Lyster Health Clinic received JIF approval to support construction and rehab of the Lyster Health Clinic’s 2nd Floor.
This $2.9 million project began in June of 2009 and was completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in June of 2010.
The result is the grand opening of the Wiregrass Community Based Outpatient Clinic.
The planned expansion of services include Primary Care, Mental Health, MRI/CT, Audiology, and eventually Sleep Study screening and Dental.