|At the groundbreaking for the new Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Laredo are (left to right) Larry Biro, director of the Veterans Administration Integrated Service Network 17; Congressman Henry Cuellar; William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio; and Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas. (Click on image for larger view) |
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A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 2 for the third building on The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Regional Campus in Laredo. The building will be used as a Veterans Affairs (VA) Outpatient Clinic.
Participating in the ceremony were Congressman Henry Cuellar, who represents Laredo; Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas; William Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the UT Health Science Center; and Danna Malone, acting director of the Veterans Administration (VA) Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System.
“Today we celebrate the future of our veteran community,” Cuellar said. “This groundbreaking marks yet another milestone to the mission my partners and I started three years ago of providing an increase in health services to the 6,300 Laredo veterans. Our veterans rose to the call when our country was in a time of need, and it is only fitting that we honor their service by caring for their health and wellbeing.”
In 2009, the expansion project partners, at the direction of Cuellar, began searching for land for a new veteran outpatient clinic due to the growing veteran population and the need for more services. The land was donated by the city of Laredo, under the leadership of council member Johnny Rendon, to The University of Texas Health Science Center, the affiliate to the Laredo VA Outpatient Clinic, through the UT System Board of Regents.
“The city of Laredo is proud to be able to donate this land for the express purpose of providing much-needed medical care and services to our local veterans, who previously had to travel hours out of town to receive the treatment they deserve,” said Mayor Salinas. “This project would not have been possible without the commitment of Congressman Henry Cuellar, who was instrumental in bringing all parties together to help find a solution to the challenge faced by Laredo veterans seeking medical care.”VA Outpatient Clinic
The new clinic will be 18,464 square feet and will replace the current 10,000-square-foot facility in Laredo. Expected to open in early 2013, the facility will provide extended primary care services, including mental health, nutrition, women’s health, podiatry, dental, tele-health and social work services. Diagnostic capabilities will be enhanced with the addition of an in-house laboratory and general radiology room.
“I am truly excited about this important project for our Laredo area veterans ” Malone said. “We will be able to maintain and expand VA health care services with this new facility. I am very proud of that and I am very proud to be a part of this team effort. I thank all of our project partners for their important support in this endeavor.”
Dr. Henrich said the new VA clinic will be the third building on the University of Texas Health Science Center Regional Campus in Laredo.
“It is truly an honor for the Health Science Center to be a part of this project, which will serve the men and women who have selflessly served our country — our military veterans. We are very grateful to the city of Laredo for donating the land for this expanded clinic. We are also profoundly grateful to U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, whose vision and effective leadership in Washington has made this day a reality by securing federal resources to build this facility. Finally, deep thanks also go to State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, who is known for her legendary dedication, passion and strong support of higher education. In 1999 she authored SB 1288, with the co-sponsorship of then-Rep. Cuellar, which created the Regional Campus in Laredo,” Henrich said.