Veterans celebrate opening of Roane Co. VA Outpatient Clinic

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A large crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of the new VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.

The clinic provides veterans with primary care, mental health services and women's health. There's a lab on-site and a mail-order pharmacy. Veterans can also see specialists through the clinic's tele-health system.

Many veterans said they were hoping a VA hospital would open in the area, but said this is a step in the right direction. They said it will save on travel time, since the closest clinic used to be in Knoxville.

"This clinic, being close like this, will save on time and expenses that it costs for traveling. This is very, very exciting for all of the veterans here in this area," said William Copeland, a veteran.

"This is a very exciting day. This is something that the county needed and the city of Harriman and Rockwood. It's going to help probably 4 or 5 counties around. I wish there was more - I think we need a clinic like this in every county and every city. But I'm happy to get this one - it's a very nice facility," said Brad Jones, a veteran.

The VA said taking care of veterans is important. Aside from the Roane County clinic, the VA opened a clinic in Athens last week and is planning to open one in Lafollete in June.

Roane County veterans have been without a clinic since 2012, when the cinic in Rockwood closed due to staffing problems.

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