VA clinic celebrates opening
BY BOB OKON email@example.com May 1, 2013 8:10PM
Updated: June 3, 2013 3:26PM
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will celebrate the opening of its Joliet mega-clinic Friday.
The clinic at the former Silver Cross Hospital campus opened on March 11. But the ribbon-cutting event at 11 a.m. is expected to draw more than 400 people as it marks the opening of a clinic that started as an idea among military veterans and was pursued for several years before becoming a reality.
Guest speakers include former U.S. Reps. Debbie Halvorson and Judy Biggert, who were major proponents of the project when in Congress. U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, also will speak.
Nine World War II veterans will be recognized at the event, which will be held at the clinic located at 1201 Eagle St.
The VA also will conduct tours and enroll veterans for clinic services. A VA spokeswoman suggested that those interested in visiting the facility but not coming for the ribbon-cutting may want to come at noon after the ceremony has been completed.
The Joliet facility is the largest VA outpatient clinic in Illinois, according to the VA. The 60,000-square-foot facility was built in the former Silver Cross emergency center, which was extensively remodeled for the project.
Veterans Affairs has registered 5,000 veterans for services at the clinic so far.
“Enrollment at the clinic is one of our top priorities,” VA spokeswoman Maureen Dyman said. “We have additional capacity.”
What has opened so far is the first phase of the project, which includes new services added to the primary care that already was available at the previous VA clinic on Glenwood Avenue. The new clinic has women’s health care, expanded mental health and social work services, physical therapy and other services.
Some of the services to be added as the clinic is completed include diagnostic imaging, cardiology and respiratory therapy.