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New VA clinic in Shawnee will provide better access to primary care for veterans

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Better access to healthcare is on the way for veterans in Johnson County. On Wednesday evening administrators from the Kansas City Department of Veterans Affairs (KCVA) met with local veterans to share details about a new clinic being built in Shawnee, Kansas.

"We’re opening a brand new clinic in Shawnee," said Dr. Ahmad Batrash, MD with the Kansas City VA Medical Center.

"We're really excited about it, this is something to serve our veterans, provide them with primary care closer to where they live," Batrash explained.

The new clinic will offer geriatrics, mental health and lab services, in addition to primary and specialty care services.

"This is very important to cut down on the travel, cut down on the inconvenience. As you know coming to a big hospital or big medical center you have difficulties with parking. So having the care closer to where they live in a more friendly place where they can actually park their car and walk in right away, that would be great instead of having to go to a much busier place," explained Dr. Batrash.

Suicide prevention was also discussed at this meeting. Doctors say 22 veterans per day commit suicide, of those 14 on average, are not enrolled in VA care, they hope adding more clinics like this help remove some barriers to accessing care, and maybe even help reduce suicide rates among vets.

"We have about 18,000 veterans that are eligible for care at the VA but they are not currently enrolled so we would love for them to be able to enroll," said Batrash.

"It just makes us feel so proud and so happy to be able to provide for America’s Heroes this level of care that they were deserve," he added.

This new clinic will be the eighth in the KC VA Medical Center network. It is set to open near 68th & Andersen on January 2, 2018.