MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Work on the new Myrtle Beach Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic officially started Friday morning, as Mayor Brenda Bethune joined VA Medical Center officials to break ground on the new facility.
Construction for the new clinic will take place at the corner of Airpark Drive and Howard Avenue .
Director and CEO of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Scott Isaacks said this clinic is essential to match the growth of the veteran population in this area.
The $13.8 million facility will be 84,000 sq. ft. It will also offer services beyond primary care and mental health services. The clinic will provide treatment for dermatology, podiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more.
Isaacks said they need this clinic to add providers and services for all veterans coming to the VA.
“We take care of about 80,000 veterans across our health system. About 14,000 of those are in Myrtle Beach and those numbers are growing rapidly. We’re adding as many as 500 veterans to our rolls every month in Myrtle Beach and Savannah where we also have a clinic – those two are really our fastest growing areas,” said Isaacks.
Kathy Plourde is a former marine. She said this clinic will be more convenient once its built.
"My husband is a 100% service connected disabled veteran so we’d make a lot of trips to Charleston,” she said, “This will help cut down on some of that travel too for sure. And the care here has been awesome.”
A retired marine, Maj. Gen. James Livingston said service from the VA has come a long way in recent years.
“VA has come so far since my first experience with it, probably back in the late 60s. It is totally a different outfit. The people are good. They’re supportive. They want to support. And were getting the money to build facilities like this,” said Livingston.
He said now veterans have more access and it’s a positive experience.
"You're welcome to the facility. They understand that this facility belongs to you not them. They're serving you and the VA employees understand they're serving you."
The clinic expects to start accepting patients in 2021.