Vets find health assistance at Stand Down

HARLINGEN — Scores of veterans showed up yesterday at a local facility for some much-needed medical care.

The VA Health Care Center at 2601 Veterans Drive was open on a Saturday as part of the Veterans Affairs’ Second National Access Stand Down.

“We’re trying to see more patients,” said Joe Perez, acting director of the Veterans Affairs Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System.

Hugo Martinez, VA public affairs officer, said more than 100 staff members at the clinic volunteered to work yesterday.

VA medical centers through the country yesterday had a team of health care professionals ready to tend to veterans with a variety of medical conditions. The first National Access event on Nov. 14 was a “great success,” says the website.

It succeeded well at the local level, too, so the local VA held its own stand down Feb. 6.

Between 50 and 60 veterans were at the clinic for primary care as well as more specialty conditions such as gastrointestinal ailments, pulmonary problems, urology and cardiology, Perez said. The stand down is necessary because sometimes the number of veterans seeking medical care begins to pile up.

The stand downs are necessary to catch up.

“We do pretty well,” said Perez. “But some patients may have been waiting 30 days. We’re trying to provide more time.”

There were also mental health professionals ready to see veterans.

Perez and Martinez both believed there will probably be more stand downs very soon, considering the interest.

For more information, call Hugo Martinez at 956-430-9303.