Veterans’ Administration establishes presence on-base at Crane
As of Monday, Aug. 5, there is a new healthcare option for military veterans at Crane Naval Base. The Crane VA Outreach Clinic is now open and ready to serve those who serve.
Senior Project Manager and Public Affairs Officer Pete Scovill of Veteran Health Indiana said the establishment of a Veterans Administration (VA) presence at Crane is part of an outreach effort the VA has been conducting for the last couple of years.
“This is the VA responding to the veterans we serve,” Scovill said. “From the Crane area, eligible veterans would have to drive about 95 miles to see a VA physician in Indianapolis and 45 miles to visit the VA clinic in Bloomington. This clinic on-base at Crane will make veteran health care more accessible to many.”
Located inside the already-established Navy Occupational Health Clinic at Crane, the outreach clinic is a cooperative venture between the Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Navy, Veteran Health Indiana and the Department of Defense to provide VA health care services to veterans employed at Crane Naval Base, and it joins several other similar clinics in the state, including those located in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Martinsville, Shelbyville, Terre Haute, Vigo County, Wakeman, and West Lafayette. The VA also has clinics in Scottsburg, Vincennes and Evansville. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The clinic is open for veterans enrolled in VA Health Care and those who would like to enroll, Scovill said.
Practitioners at the clinic can evaluate symptoms and come up with a treatment plan, Scovill added.
“There is an LPN or Crane Clinic representative on-site,” Scovill said. “They see patients and communicate with VA doctors via telephone for ‘telehealth’ care’ for real-time diagnosis.”
The staff can write prescriptions when medically appropriate, answer questions about common medical problems and provide expert consultation. Support staff can assist with veterans’ questions about benefits and even help veterans enroll in VA care.
The Crane VA Outreach Clinic can evaluate the following medical conditions: abscess, acid reflux, acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, backache, bronchitis, bowel/digestive issues, cellulitis, cold, cold sores, constipation, cough, croup, diarrhea, dizziness, eye infection/irritation, fever, flu, gas, gout, headache/migraine, joint pain/swelling, laryngitis, minor skin injury, pink eye, poison ivy/oak, rash, respiratory infection, skin conditions, sinusitis, sore throat, sprains and strains, strep and tonsillitis.
Scovill said the VA will consider opening an off-base Greene County clinic as well, after seeing how many take advantage of the Crane clinic.
“I am thrilled by this news,” said Greene County Veterans Service Officer Richard Nichols. “This is really great for our veterans who work on-base. This action also signals a first step toward gaining an off-base VA medical presence in our area.”
Scovill said the clinic outreach openings are a part of the “new VA,” joining with other outreach efforts to bring VA services and connections to Indiana veterans.
Another effort is taking place right now at the Indiana State Fair.
For the third straight year at the fair, veterans and their families visiting the fair can stop by the Veteran Health Indiana booth in the air-conditioned Exposition Hall for help enrolling in VA health care and receive a free keepsake photo featuring their military service flag as a background.
“We photograph veterans and their families in front of a green screen,” Scovill said. “Then we put the flag of their branch of service behind them and It’s a nice, personalized keepsake for veterans. We will be at the Fair 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Aug. 17. We average about 100 pictures a day, engage many about VA Health care enrollment and try to stay away from the deep-fried Twinkies.”
Scovill said Veteran Health Indiana offers the same free keepsake at many Indianapolis Colts home games.
“Last year, we were part of the Colts home game “tailgate” party before home games,” he said. “Our ‘photo booth’ received much attention. We set up a fairly elaborate two-tent layout and have a green screen on a framed backdrop. We take pictures of veterans and their families, layer in their specific service flag, mount it in a cardboard frame and give it to them with no charge, just our thanks.”
To arrange for an appointment at Crane VA Clinic, call 317-308-0149.
For more information about VA Outreach Clinics, visit www.indianapolis.va.gov/locations/crane_va_clinic.asp.