Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for a new, 34,000-square-foot Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Fort Smith, Arkansas.


Currently situated inside the Baptist Health hospital, Fort Smith CBOC’s new building will have an additional 15,000-square-feet to more efficiently care for area veterans. The new building is located on Phoenix Avenue behind the Fort Smith Regional Airport.


This facility will add eye care, audiology, laboratory, and radiology services to the CBOC’s current services. The radiology section will also be equipped with a computerized tomography (CT) scan in addition to X-ray technology. The clinic’s laboratory and radiology services will be performed by VA staff instead of a contract service.


During the planning phase, the Patient Aligned Care Team space design was applied to the new clinic’s layout. This bigger space will significantly expand the number of exam and consult rooms from nine to 27. In addition, more area will be dedicated to women Veterans’ health care and mental health care, allowing an expansion for such programs as group therapy and the Substance Abuse Program.


Telehealth capability for such services as tele-retinal imaging in the new location have been specifically enhanced. Telehealth allows VHSO to bring health care to veterans where they live when they desire, making health care more accessible and more convenient.


"We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of Fort Smith and to begin construction on our new clinic," said Medical Center Director Kelvin L. Parks, who is a retired U.S. Navy chief yeoman (Aviation Warfare). "Improving access for Veterans in the River Valley area has been a priority for some time and we are happy to see this project moving forward."


Dignitaries who attended the small event and gave brief remarks included Fort Smith Mayor George McGill and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers.