The new Hoosier Veterans Affairs Clinic is set to open next month near Grissom Air Reserve Base and move its services from its current location in Peru.

The new facility will open Feb. 16, according to a flyer posted on Facebook by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The clinic was originally scheduled to open last fall.

The VA said anyone with an appointment scheduled on or after Feb. 16 at the current Peru clinic should go to the new location. Those with appointments before then should continue to go to the Peru location at 750 N. Broadway.

The VA is set to hold an enrollment fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at 920 N. Washington St. in Kokomo. Veterans can enroll with VA for their health care and receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

For enrollment, veterans should bring a copy of their DD-214 and an annual income estimate. To receive a COVID-19 booster shot, bring a vaccination card.

The multimillion dollar project broke ground in September 2020 at 1496 W. Hoosier Blvd. to build the new 20,000-square-foot clinic that doubles the size of the current clinic in Peru and offers more services.

Michael Hershman, director of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, which oversees the facility, said in a previous interview the new site will increase the current number of primary care physician teams from three to five.

The facility will also add three spaces for mental health services and a 1,000-foot area for physical therapy, which is not currently offered at the Peru clinic.

Four other rooms will allow veterans to have telehealth visits with doctors and specialists at other VA facilities around the state.

“This means more care and more expanded services for our veterans across this community,” Hershman said. “Our motto at Indiana Northern Healthcare System is excellence, every veteran, every encounter. This new clinic is part of that mission and part of that motto.”

VA officials said the new facility will serve veterans in Miami, Howard, Cass, Wabash, Fulton and Pulaski counties, and the new location along U.S. 31 will provide easy access for veterans in all those counties. The current clinic serves around 3,300 veterans.

VA officials have been discussing the construction of the new clinic since 2017, and its location became a point of controversy after officials in Howard County pushed to get the new facility closer to Kokomo.

Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman said in 2019 that the county had been taken off the table as a potential site because of politics, and brought up the issue with U.S. Sen. Todd Young during a meeting of the Military Foundation.

That came after the closure of the part-time VA clinic that opened in Kokomo in February 2018. That VA outpatient facility was housed inside the current city-county clinic at 620 N. Bell St. and was open two days a week to see area veterans.

In January 2019, the clinic stopped seeing patients and moved out of the city-county facility less than a year after it opened.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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