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Published March 13, 2013, 05:49 PM

VA Confirms Plan to Open Devils Lake Clinic by Year's End

Veterans in Devils Lake say congressional leaders and the VA have confirmed plans to open a VA clinic in town by the end of the year. The news comes a decade after plans for a Devils Lake clinic were first announced.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

Veterans in Devils Lake say congressional leaders and the VA have confirmed plans to open a VA clinic in town by the end of the year. The news comes a decade after plans for a Devils Lake clinic were first announced.

Local veterans say this is the closest a clinic has been to reality since plans were first brought forth in 2004. VFW official Emery Fisher went to Washington DC last week hoping to find out when the long-rumored VA clinic was coming.

Emery: "...Senator Hoeven's office and Senator Heitkamp's office and they said the VA was going to look for leases by August."

Local veterans say they're more optimistic than they've been since the first plans came out nine years ago.

Pete Padilla, Disabled American Veterans: "We at least are getting information, and now there's gonna be…there are dates, and steps being taken."

The clinic will be open five days a week with two local nurses and access to experts through tele-health.

Emery: "We've been promised. The money's there, and I think it's going to happen."

Some veterans say tele-health could pose problems.

Padilla: "There's some individuals who might not want to talk to a TV camera, and then what do you do?"

But groups like the Disabled American Veterans say they'll do everything to help a local clinic succeed.

Gary Bartram: "...Quite a bit of advertising and promotion to get the veterans comfortable with using this. It's better than having to run down to Grand Forks."

Local vets have been waiting nine years for this. They say they're still taking the news of the clinic with a grain of salt. The clinic is slated to be open 20 hours a week at first, but hours could be cut or expanded based on demand.

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