WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — In November, a new Veteran Affairs clinic opened in Wichita Falls.
Since then, VA officials said they have welcomed a continuous stream of patients.
With veterans coming from as far as Wilbarger County and southern Oklahoma, officials hope to keep expanding their services.
“I really wanted to get the most out of the VA and my disabilities and I hear it’s a great place to get continuous service,” 11-year military vet Autumn Lake said.
For many military veterans, they have heard that the Veterans Affairs clinic will take care of them once they retire from service.
On her first visit to the VA, Lake wanted to see for herself after struggling to get consistent medical care while serving.
“I’ve had that happen when I get stationed other places. I have to start over and over and it’s always stressful trying to get retested for the same things to get the same diagnosis just so I could get what I’ve been asking for,” Lake said.
“I tried the VA because they get all the stuff that I did in the military service and they have all that documentation.”
The VA clinic in Wichita Falls offers medical services for primary care, behavioral health and social work services.
Officials said they have seen many patients since opening in November and hope to keep expanding so they can see more.
“Opening up more and more programs for health and wellness, even considering doing some group appointments for our patients,” VA clinic Nurse Manager Donna Ross said.
Lake also said as a woman, it’s more difficult to get recognized for her service, let alone use her benefits.
“When I go to doctor appointments and they say ‘your sponsor’s last four and I’d say ‘my last four is’ and they’d be like ‘no, I want your husband’s.’ and I was like ‘I’m the one in service. I am.’ So it was a lot of pride. It was kind of hard because no one expected you to be in the military,” Lake said.
But VA officials encourage all veterans, especially women, to use their benefits.
“We’re one of the biggest clinics, the fastest growing clinic in the Oklahoma City VA. That is tremendous that our veterans are getting the care they need,” Ross said.
“It can be difficult to wanna use your benefits because sometimes people don’t really see us females as real veterans. But we did the same thing that the men did. And nobody gave us slack for it,” Lake said.
And nobody will give slack to any veteran that is seeking treatment after serving our country.
The VA clinic is also offering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to veterans and their caregivers.