Steamboat Springs Veterans from Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties will soon have a state-of-the-art way to get health care.
The Department of Veterans Affairs in Grand Junction has been authorized to open a Telehealth Clinic in Craig to serve veterans of the three counties as well as others from surrounding rural areas.
Today, the medical center staff from Grand Junction will hold a town meeting at 1 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 62 in Craig to discuss how the clinic will work, where it will be and how it will be staffed.
"We're going to meet with the public, the veterans community and members of the community so we can present how it's going to work," said Kris Baugh, spokeswoman for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction.
Baugh said getting some sort of veteran medical operation in Northwest Colorado has been a two-year process.
Congress allocated money for the Telehealth Clinic in Craig this spring, she said.
The clinic, which has to be open by Sept. 30, will feature a state-of-the-art camera at the Craig office that will feed images and information back to doctors in Grand Junction.
"It's quite a process - this Telehealth is amazing," Baugh said. "The technology they can do via a camera is quite amazing.
The Department of Veterans Affairs wasn't able to open a full-sized clinic in Craig because there aren't enough veterans in the area, Baugh said.
Still, Baugh said the Telehealth Clinic is the next best thing.
The Telehealth Clinic is one of only several clinics like it in the region. Baugh said Veterans Affairs staff took a trip to Elko, Nev. to look at its Telehealth Clinic - which serves people all the way to Salt Lake City - and came away impressed.
"Of course we'll have our own processes, but it will be patterned after that Telehealth Clinic," Baugh said.
In the end, Baugh said the clinic will bring much-needed care to Northwest Colorado.
"We've been trying to provide health care in rural places to the veteran community," Baugh said. "Getting VA health care in that area has been a long haul, but this is the answer to that. It allows us to increase our services."