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The VA is opening a new clinic inside Langley

The hospital at Langley becomes site of a new VA clinic.
Steve Walsh

The Veterans Health Administration is looking for ways to expand quickly in Hampton Roads as the number of new patients surge.

The latest Veterans Health Administration facility is located inside the hospital at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The Langley VA Clinic is part of an effort by the VA and the Department of Defense to open up military health facilities with the VA.

Hampton Roads has one of the fastest-growing veteran populations in the country. The area that includes southeastern Virginia and parts of North Carolina has roughly 108,000 veterans and has grown nearly 20% in the last five years. The system is looking for ways to expand quickly, said Dr. Taquisa K. Simmons, executive director of the Hampton VA.

“When we walked the space, we found out that this will be prime to be able to serve our veterans,” she said. “And so the collaboration and the work started from there, that was a little over a year ago.”

Langley had space available inside its hospital, so the cost to the VA was minimal. The new VA clinic will serve as many as 10,000 veteran patients, providing primary care and outpatient services. VA doctors and staff will treat patients.

The VA and Air Force held a ceremony Monday to mark the opening of the clinic earlier in May.

“Our people obviously know each other and have worked with each other between the agencies. So they ended up executing on this really well,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, undersecretary for the Veterans Health Administration.

The VA and the Pentagon are looking at other partnerships that would open military hospitals to treat veterans as the VA takes on more patients. Since the PACT Act was signed into law in 2022, more than half a million new veterans have signed up for VA healthcare nationwide, according to the Veterans Administration.

The Department of Defense is also looking for ways to open up its facilities to provide better training to its medical staff.

“We need patience. That’s how we get doctors and nurses and techs ready to go to war,” said Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. “So part of this exercise with the VA is to give us an opportunity to serve them.”

The clinic at Langley is open to all eligible veterans. The Hampton VA is scheduled to open another clinic in Chesapeake later in the year.

Steve joined WHRO in 2023 to cover military and veterans. Steve has extensive experience covering the military and working in public media, most recently at KPBS in San Diego, WYIN in Gary, Indiana and WBEZ in Chicago. In the early 2000s, he embedded with members of the Indiana National Guard in Kuwait and Iraq. Steve reports for NPR’s American Homefront Project, a national public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Steve is also on the board of Military Reporters & Editors.

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