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Officials visit with Fort Sill about their VA clinic

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FORT SILL, Okla._In light of recent reports on wait times and administrative problems, officials from Oklahoma City's Veterans Affairs Medical Center visited Fort Sill's VA Outpatient Clinic to talk about the job they are doing.

Officials said there is a growing population of veterans in Oklahoma and one of the fastest areas of growth is right here in the Lawton Fort Sill community where the Fort Sill VA Clinic is the largest.

VA officials say that they are continuing to improve but they are also going to keep doing what they have been, focusing on patient-centered care which starts at clinics like Fort Sill.

"I would probably say at least an “A-“, an “A-“ because we can always identify areas we can improve in," said Director of the Oklahoma City VA Center Daniel Marsh.

Outpatient visits have risen by over 50,000 the past four years at the Oklahoma VA Medical Center and its VA outpatient clinics like Fort Sill, and that's a good thing.

"We are proud of that because it tells us that veterans want us to be their provider of choice. They are coming to us, because they want too," said Marsh.

Wait time for veterans is an improvement many veterans are calling for across the nation, but it's something officials here in Oklahoma say they are handling well. Ninety-five percent of appointments are scheduled within 30 days of the desired date, meaning they have been able to keep up with patients, while the veteran population grows at approximately 500 new patients per month.

"We do everything possible to make sure that our veterans are communicating with us. If they are having trouble getting in, or they think they are having trouble getting in, they need to let us know so that we can research that, find out what is the issue and let’s get that veteran in to be seen," said Marsh.

The Lawton Fort Sill clinic is about to expand by 7,000 square feet later this year. They will add an expansion that includes departments like physical therapy, optometry, and audiology. Officials believe this will help veterans greatly because they will not have to drive to Oklahoma City to get the care they need.

That expansion is expected to start on October 1 and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015.

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