On April 11, a new chapter for the Fort Smith VA Clinic in Arkansas began. The staff of the Ozarks VA (VHSO) opened the doors on a brand new, state-of-the art, 34,000-square foot facility at 5700 Phoenix Place. The new building meets Green Globe Certification standards.

“We are dedicated to doing everything we possibly can to do the right thing for those who served us,” said interim Medical Center Director Kimberly Lane.

Ozarks VA was recently named one of Arkansas’ best hospitals for patient experience by Becker’s Hospital Review.

For more than 20 years, the Fort Smith VA Clinic called a 19,000-square-foot location at Baptist Health home. With the increasing Veteran population in the River Valley and surrounding areas, and the need for additional health care services, a new location was included in VA’s capital planning process.

World War II Marine Corps Veteran Hersel Williams

Serving about 10,000 Veterans

The new clinic will serve approximately 10,000 Veterans and offer a variety of new health care services. These include a Patient-Aligned Care Team model for primary care, an increase of exam rooms from nine to 27, laboratory, audiology, and optometry with an optical shop.

Also included are radiology services for computed tomography (CT) scans, X-ray, ultrasound, expanded telehealth capabilities like tele-retinal, expanded mental health services, a room for group therapy, substance abuse program space and an expanded women’s health area.

Expanded services provide Veterans with faster results and will improve their access to care without having to drive to the main campus in Fayetteville, more than 60 miles away.

Focus on patient experience and needs

The use of tele-health services also decreases wait times and eliminates the need for travel. During the pandemic, VA had an increase in the use of tele-health services and will continue to make more specialty services available via virtual care modalities.

Convenience and comfort were key factors in the design of the new structure, with the women Veterans’ space receiving special attention. It’s much larger and focuses on the patient experience and specific needs of this unique population. The change is very timely, as women Veterans represent the fastest growing population at Ozarks VA and in many areas across the country.

The newly designed facilities incorporate many changes to better accommodate women Veterans.

“Proud to be one of the first patients.”

World War II Marine Corps Veteran Hersel Williams was the first patient to be seen at the new clinic. “I think it’s a wonderful place. It’s all new. I’m proud to be one of the first patients,” he said.

The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks provides health care services at eight locations in northwest Arkansas, southwest Missouri and eastern Oklahoma.

Facilities include the Fayetteville VA Medical Center and seven community-based outpatient clinics in Fort Smith, Harrison, and Ozark, Arkansas; Branson, Springfield, and Joplin, Missouri; and Jay, Oklahoma.

By Wanda Shull is the executive assistant to the medical center director and Crystal Davis-Noble is a public affairs officer, both at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks

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Published on Apr. 24, 2022

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3 Comments

  1. William L Nesbit May 2, 2022 at 11:32 am

    I’m interested in serving as a mentor. I’m a Military Veteran with a service connected disability. I lost my father at the age of 17.
    I watched a buddy get killed while on active duty.
    I would like to be considered as a mentor for your honorable program.

  2. Peter Benedict April 28, 2022 at 10:38 am

    I’m interested in the TAPS program. I’m a Vietnam veteran, widower, single father of a son with cerebral palsy, sober 35 years in AA, hospice volunteer, and suffered the suicide of my veteran father when I was 18.

  3. William April 24, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    Can’t be enough done for our Vets.
    This new clinic was way overdue and I’m glad to see it.
    Seems there for a while we were having things taken away.
    I still have a major problem since 1969.
    And it has gotten worse.
    No one did a damn thing for over 40+ years and it’s related big time.

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