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VA dedicates new Women's Health Clinic

May. 17, 2013 @ 11:24 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Calling it a proactive approach to the unique health care needs of female veterans, VA Medical Center Director Edward Seiler welcomed staff, veterans, and state and local leaders to the dedication ceremony for the medical center's new Women's Health Clinic.

Several hundred people, including Logan native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., who sang the national anthem, attended the ceremony and took part in tours of the nearly $3 million renovation project.

"The sole purpose of our meeting today is the gender-specific needs of our women veterans," said Seiler. The center has 1,200 female veterans, approximately four percent of its patient population, enrolled for care. "We know that in the military today, there are 12 to 15 percent who are female active-duty members. When they leave active duty, they'll be veterans eligible to receive care at our medical center, and we want to be prepared for them. We don't wait for the future to occur and then react."

Officials at the VA Medical Center have said the renovations to the three-story, 7,221-square-foot building that used to house the center's quartermaster, were long overdue. Nancy Bostar, women veteran program manager, said the makeover was done in cooperation with the center's veteran population to transform the facility into a spa-like atmosphere, meeting the needs of the female population.

The facility boasts a spacious reception and waiting area, examination rooms -- including a bariatric room with patient lift -- a treatment room and space for physicians. The building also houses administrative offices, employee accommodations and a dedicated mental health social worker.

Friday's keynote speaker, retired Army Col. Maria Worley, said female active-duty military personnel are accustomed to working alongside their male counterparts in the field, in tents and barracks, and in the gym, but diverse health care needs called for a different approach.

"It doesn't really matter what the problem is, men's and women's health care issues are different. We approach things differently. We think differently. And, we need someone that understands we approach health care differently," Worley said. "I think it's better for all of us to have this focused approach to care for women."

Female veterans at the Huntington VA Medical Center, located at 1540 Spring Valley Drive, visit the campus for everything from primary care to reproductive health. The women's clinic is located adjacent to the hospital's main building with dedicated parking or a courtesy shuttle from the center's front door.

"Our female veterans, and all veterans, deserve no less than the best care and education we can offer them," Worley said.

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.

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