John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, Dec. 2, for the new John J. Pershing Medical Clinic, to be located off of the Highway 63 bypass and Route K in West Plains.
Despite cool, windy weather, many people attended the event, including representatives of the West Plains Chamber of Commerce, West Plains Fire Department, Zizzers Band and area veterans' services groups.
"The community of West Plains is amazing," Angela Smith, the medical center's public affairs officer, said of the turnout.
Other attendees included Glenn Costie, director and CEO of the VA medical center in Poplar Bluff, Heather Peugh, representing Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, Jennifer Kasten, representing Sen. Roy Blunt, Megan Hammer, representing Sen. Claire McCaskill, and District 151 Rep.Ward Franz.
At 4,200 square feet, the existing clinic near Highway 63 is "bursting at the seams," Smith said.
Over the past several years, the medical center has gone through a steady process of enlarging its five clinics, Smith said.
The center recently completed expanding existing Missouri outpatient clinics in Cape Girardeau and Farmington and in Paragould, Ark. A new outpatient clinic was established in Sikeston.
All the expanded locations include audiology and radiology services and home health care services, which operate out of those cities.
The 9,900-square-foot West Plains facility will also feature mental health and primary care services, a womens health clinic and the online My Health e-Vet clinic.
"We will be better able to provide care for our veterans," Smith said of the project.
Veterans also can visit www.myhealth.va.gov to schedule appointments, order prescription medications or view their lab results.