Monroe-area veterans set to get larger clinic

Northeast Louisiana military veterans will have a new, larger clinic for health care once a $4.7 million expansion project is completed later this year in Monroe.

The current clinic is about 9,000 square feet. Construction is expected to start soon on a 21,000-square-foot facility near the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s School of Pharmacy.

Once completed, the clinic is expected to eventually double its medical staff by adding more doctors or nurse practitioners.

The facility now has five doctors.

Services will include primary care, mental health counseling, women’s health, home-based primary care, audiology and teleconferencing treatment with doctors in Shreveport.

“We’re excited for Monroe to get this brand new clinic and bring more services to our veterans in the Monroe area,” said Sandy Franks, public affairs officer for the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport.

Local veteran Tommy Shoemaker has used the Monroe clinic over the past decade for a number of health care needs.

He said he is excited about the expansion project, which he said will help reduce the wait time for area veterans and add more services.

“It’s going to be a great help for the veterans and the community. The waiting list has gotten longer because there’s only so much room for doctors.

“Now they’ll have room to add more doctors, which will keep the veterans from having to wait longer for appointments,” Shoemaker said.

Al Sanders, detachment vice commander for the Sons of American Legion of Louisiana, said he is excited about the expansion because he hopes he’ll have to travel to Shreveport less often.

Currently, Sanders has to travel to Shreveport for all of his health care needs because the Monroe clinic doesn’t have the specialists and services available to treat him.

“When they make these improvements, some of that care possibly can be done here,” Sanders said.