A new health clinic opening on the former Fort Ord will serve both active duty military and veterans. It’s an early effort by the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to work together on health care.
On Thursday, over 500 people came out to celebrate the opening of the new VA-DoD clinic. The ceremony included the singing of the national anthem, speeches, and a ribbon-cutting.
The clinic is named in honor of Major General William H. Gourley. He was stationed at Fort Ord and envisioned a day when health care for active duty military and veterans was combined under one roof. The new clinic is the second in the nation and the first in California to do that.
Dr. Mary Roberts is the clinic’s medical director.
“It’s in many ways one stop shopping that the continuum of care just moves from the DoD side to the VA side,” Dr. Roberts said.
As she gave tours of the new state-of-the-art facility, she added this new clinic is also combining something else – primary care and mental health care.
“Really treating the veteran as the whole person they are and not parceling out their care like they’re parts,” Dr. Roberts said.
The clinic is built to serve 20,000 patients. One of those patients will be CW2 Kirk Johnson, a veteran. As an army aviator, he crashed in a helicopter during a training exercise at Fort Ord. Johnson says he’s personally looking forward to receiving more mental health support.
“I was diagnosed with PTSD with severity of depression. So I’m one of the veterans that can get in the heavy discussion of things and have flashbacks, so,” Chief Johnson said.
The clinic starts seeing patients on August 14.