Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 18, 2014

Beckley VA Medical Center rural mobile health clinic finds its home in Bluefield

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Several key members of the Beckley VA Medical Center traveled to Bluefield Friday morning in the VA’s new rural mobile health clinic. The purpose of the visit was to determine the appropriate location to place the mobile health clinic that is both level and has access to electrical hook-ups.

Brian Nimmo, associate director of the Beckley VA Hospital, along with Gary Eskins, acting chief of health administration; Steve “Tug” McGraw, chief of logistics; Ted Hamm, chief engineer; and Darren Spencer, of the Beckley VA visited the Herb Sims Youth Center to work with the city to determine the best place to station the mobile health clinic in advance of the Feb. 13 ribbon-cutting event.

“We’re excited about bringing this mobile clinic here,” Nimmo said. “We want a waiting list,” he said in reference to when the mobile clinic starts serving veterans. “We want this to be as well used — as any other VA clinic.”

The rural mobile health clinic leadership team met with Jim Ferguson, Bluefield city manager and Dwight Godwin, director of the city parks and recreation department. “We’re excited that this is coming to Bluefield,” Ferguson said. “We want it to be a permanent fixture here until we can get a brick and mortar clinic here.”

“There is a natural relationship between this rural health clinic and the recreation center,” Godwin said. “The recreation department provides a service to the community and everybody knows where the parks and recreation center is located. I have always thought that we should be a full service parks and recreation center. I’m hoping that in the future more people will use the facilities we have here.”

By the way Godwin and the Beckley VA Medical Center personnel interacted, it appeared obvious that the two entities have already established a positive working relationship and a spirit of camaraderie.

Eskins said letters are being sent to all area veterans, encouraging them to visit the clinic. “They are in the mail as we speak,” he said. He said there are some 3,500 veterans in the Beckley VA Medical Center system already.

During a tour of the $360,000 mobile health clinic, McGraw pointed out the two exam rooms, the restroom facility and tip-out that dramatically increases the size of the combination waiting room/nurses’ station.

“When we deploy the satellite hook-up, they’ll be able to connect with all of the patient’s information that is at the Beckley VA Medical Center,” Nimmo said. “We will have four staff members permanently assigned to the mobile health clinic. They’re already hired.”

Eskins said that if veterans who are not already registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs come to the rural mobile health clinic, staff can send them the registration forms. However, the veterans will have to travel to Beckley to get photographed and put in the system.

Before they left Bluefield, the VA staff and city leadership checked electrical connections on the East end of the recreation center’s parking lot near Wildwood Drive. Nimmo said that the VA will likely bring the mobile health clinic to the Herb Sims Youth Center a day or two prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

— Contact Bill Archer at