Primary Care Clinic for Veterans Opens in Gaithersburg

Primary Care Clinic for Veterans Opens in Gaithersburg

Annual check-ups, women’s health and mental health services available

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William Mason, 72, receives medical treatment at a new community clinic for military veterans in Gaithersburg

Glynis Kazanjian

Retired Army Sgt. William Mason, 72, will no longer have to spend an hour or more in his car to see his military doctor in D.C. for his annual physical or any other general medical needs.

On Sept. 17, the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which provides medical care for veterans in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, opened a community-based clinic in Gaithersburg. The Montgomery County location is the first for the area and the medical center’s fifth satellite facility in the region.

Mason, who lives in Gaithersburg, says his drive now takes 15 minutes.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Mason said before a check-up Sept. 21. “When you get older, you don’t want to be making a long drive.”

Since October 2017, the D.C.-based medical center has provided medical care to 669,000 veterans, according to DC VA Medical Center spokesperson Gloria Hairston.

Montgomery County alone is home to 44,000 vets, Hairston said.

“We expect to provide care to well over 2,000 veterans” in the county by the end of the year, Hairston said. “We will likely see about 500 to 700 patients a month. After one year, we do estimate that our team will have provided care to about 20,000 veterans in Montgomery County.”

The 11,600-square-foot facility, at 15810 Gaither Drive, provides veterans with a range of medical services in primary care, including annual physicals; women’s health; mental health; social services; nutrition counseling; pharmaceutical consultation; audiology device fitting; and specialty care via clinical telehealth technology, according to a press release.

Hairston said patients who wish to continue to using the D.C. medical center can also visit the clinic for other services, including receiving flu shots and undergoing lab tests.

During its first week, the clinic saw about 53 patients, ranging in age from 35 to 95 years old, Medical Support Assistant Felicia Jones said. Several patients were walk-ins seeking psychiatric care, she said.

The clinic is staffed with two primary care physicians, two psychiatrists, a psychologist, a nutritionist, an audiologist and a social worker.

“Starting next year, the staff will most likely be double,” Jones said.

There is also a small volunteer staff and the clinic is seeking more volunteers.

“Opening the Montgomery County clinic represents years of planning and community collaboration,” Hairston said. “It also demonstrates the DC VA Medical Center’s commitment to expanding closer to home VA health care to veterans in Maryland.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include more information about the Gaithersburg clinic.

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