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Albuquerque Journal: New vets’ clinic will provide needed space

Planned for the Las Soleras development at Cerrillos and Beckner roads, the clinic likely will open in 2015 or late 2014. Marnell said a meeting is scheduled between the VA and the contractor, who will be directed to come back with a construction schedule.

“I’ve been concerned about all the (community-based VA clinics) in New Mexico and the conditions under which they are operating,” Udall said, adding that he is particularly concerned about commute times for rural veterans in finding the services they need.

Santa Fe’s clinic is one that helps reduce those commutes, and the increasing use of telemedicine means more veterans can find services closer to their homes rather than driving to Albuquerque. Marnell said veterans already meet with mental-health providers via the telemedicine network. Both research studies and the system’s own experience show patients are as comfortable meeting by camera as they are face to face, he added.

Also, cameras transmit retinal scans for ophthalmologists to check for damage, and even exercise and nutrition classes are offered via telemedicine, he said. “Here, we can get four people at once” in an exercise class, Marnell said. The new clinic will allow eight or nine at a time, he said.

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