Veterans invited to Columbus town hall meeting


There’s little doubt that among the 22,000 veterans living in Jackson, Bartholomew and Johnson counties, a number have health care-related questions.

Answers from Veterans Administration personnel will be available during a town hall meeting at Columbus City Hall.

The 6:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday is primarily intended to spread the word to all veterans about the recently opened Wakeman VA Clinic at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh.

When the medical facility opened its doors in early February, a blend of basic medical and mental health services were immediately made available to local veterans, not just those in the immediate area, said Pete Scovill, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman.

They include physical therapy, a mental health care center and Tele-Health, which utilizes electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, Scovill said.

But during the next few years, the 12,000-square-foot clinic that occupies two adjacent buildings on 10th Street in the Camp Atterbury complex will expand services to include optometry, ophthalmology, audiology and general X-rays, the VA spokesman said.

All veterans, including those currently not receiving health care benefits and those currently enrolled at other VA facilities, are eligible for treatment at the Wakeman VA Clinic, according to an announcement this week from the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, located on West 10th Street in Indianapolis.

Keith Boling, Jackson County’s veterans’ service officer, said many of the 3,200 or so veterans living here travel to Louisville or Scottsburg for services, and others go to Bloomington.

Boling said the new clinic can help reduce travel for some veterans, especially those in the northeastern part of the county in the Seymour area.

Veterans can’t go to clinics in two different regions, he said, and many here likely will continue going south to Louisville.

The expanding number of services at Camp Atterbury is not expected to reduce the 15 monthly round-trips provided for veterans to the Roudebush Center by the Bartholomew County Veterans Service Office, director Tom Crawford said.

Besides the fact that several veterans require specialty services available only at the Indianapolis VA facility, there are older veterans who don’t want to give up long-established and highly valued relationships with Roudebush physicians and staff, Crawford said.

Younger veterans who only require routine medical care or mental health services most likely will utilize the services at Camp Atterbury, Crawford said.

According to Scovill, the Wakeman clinic was intended to address a number of issues that include:

Reducing driving time by moving health care closer to veterans, especially for those residing in rural areas of south-central Indiana.

Increasing available space at the Roudebush Center for enhancing specialty and inpatient services.

Addressing a federal mandate to link primary, mental health and supporting specialties.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is expected to attend a formal dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. March 30 for the clinic, which is a joint venture of the Indiana National Guard and the Veterans Administration.

The idea of creating the Wakeman VA Clinic began with Roudebush officials meeting in 2014 with their counterparts from Camp Atterbury and the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County, according to a press release.

A partnership developed over the next year with the goal of finding new purposes for existing military buildings to provide veteran health care, the release stated.

In July 2015, VA Secretary Robert McDonald used this partnership in interviews with the media as an example of local, state and federal activities all working to provide health care to veterans.

Like the hospital that stood for decades at the camp, the clinic was named to honor Col. Frank Wakeman, a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine who died during World War II.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”March 30 dedication” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

A dedication ceremony for the Wakeman VA Clinic will be at 11 a.m. March 30. The clinic is located in two neighboring buildings at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh:

  • Building 1010, located at 3791 10th St.
  • Building 1012, located at 3783 10th St.

The ceremony, which will be attended by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is open to the public.  

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”March 23 Veteran Town Hall Meeting ” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

The Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center is conducting a town hall meeting for veterans next week. The primary purpose is to spread the word about expanded health care opportunities for veterans at the new Wakeman VA Clinic at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday inside the Cal Brand meeting room on the first floor of Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.   

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Current and future services at Wakeman ” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

The Wakeman VA Clinic currently provides an integration of basic medical care with mental health services, as well as Tele-Health, physical therapy and a mental health call center.

It is located in two neighboring buildings at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh:

  • Building 1010, located at 3791 10th St.
  • Building 1012, located at 3783 10th St.

With the next few years, the clinic is expected to expand services to include optometry, ophthalmology, audiology and general X-rays.


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