STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Part of a larger national initiative to increase veterans’ access to care begins Sept. 1 for vets in the area. The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, Mich. will begin offering direct scheduled audiology and optometry appointments.
“What this means for veterans is they don’t have to make a primary care appointment to get a referral for hearing or vision exams,” according to the medical center’s public affairs officer Brad Nelson. “It saves time because one less appointment is needed.”
Additionally, the medical center offers an audiology walk-in clinic daily, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. No exams will be given during that time, Nelson said, but if a patient has a question or needs a hearing aid adjusted, those two hours a day are open.
Direct scheduling also frees up the medical center’s primary care doctors to see patients who need more than just a referral. Improving veterans’ access to care has been a focus of the VA for a couple of years, Nelson said, after it came to light that patients in some parts of the country were experiencing long wait times for medical appointments.
Routine hearing and vision exams can be scheduled by contacting any primary care clerk at the medical center or its community-based outpatient clinics, or by calling 906-774-3300, ext. 33115.
The Oscar G. Johnson Medical Center is the only VA facility in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin that provides these services.