May 25, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE NEW VETERANS' HEALTH CARE FACILITIES AT ANDREWS AFB AND FT. DETRICK

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will open two new community-based clinics in Maryland - one at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County and another at Fort Detrick in Frederick County. The new facilities, called community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs), will become operational in 2007 and 2008.

"We have a sacred trust with the veterans who risked their lives so that we may live in freedom. Part of that sacred trust is making sure we provide our veterans with the services and support they need and deserve," said Senator Mikulski. "Our veterans need to know that America is with them, and that we owe them a debt of gratitude. That's why I am proud to announce the opening of these two new VA clinics in Maryland. I will continue to fight to make sure that our nation's veterans are not left behind when it comes to their health."

"VA community-based health centers are critical to the delivery of comprehensive health care to our veterans. I am pleased that the new clinics at Andrews AFB and Ft. Detrick will be able to reduce waiting times and backlog for veterans seeking primary and specialty care," said Senator Cardin.

As the former Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the VA, Senator Mikulski led the national effort to establish outpatient clinics for veterans, bringing care to patients where they lived. In fact, one of the first-ever CBOCs was the Cambridge Clinic in Dorchester County, which opened in 1988.

CBOCs improve access to primary and specialty care for veterans in rural areas, particularly high-priority enrolled veterans. Improved access to health care reduces waiting times both for follow-up visits and at the parent hospital.

The VA anticipates that 1,620 existing patients and 180 new patients will be treated at the Andrews AFB facility, and an anticipated 2,726 existing patients and 342 new patients will be treated at Fort Detrick.

Services offered at CBOCs include comprehensive primary care, health promotion, maintenance, routine/urgent care procedures and education. Mental Health Services will provide screening and prevention for mental disorders and diagnostic evaluation for mental illness and substance abuse, psychotherapy and or psychosocial counseling for mental disorders and referral for inpatient or residential care, direct care or access to consultation for special emphasis and/or complex problems.