VA Health Clinic Opens With Ribbon-Cutting In Vinita

VA Health Clinic Opens With Ribbon-Cutting In Vinita

The VA opened a new clinic in Vinita on Wednesday, less than a year after closing the old one, restoring medical care for nearby veterans.

The clinic was closed to save money, which prompted the Cherokee Nation to offer free space and support at their clinic, so now the VA is operating inside a tribal clinic.

The Cherokee and American flags were raised outside the new VA clinic, which is inside the existing Vinita Health Center run by the Cherokee Nation.

The agreement to work together was brokered by former Vinita Mayor and Navy veteran Chuck Hoskin Sr.

It returns VA Healthcare to veterans who used the clinic that closed in 2023.

"So we have a magnificent structure here that's not old and well equipped from the infrastructure and IT standpoint, and we had the space, so we're growing within this facility, but it was built for growth. We never anticipated the need for the VA but here we are able to accommodate it," said Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Chief Hoskin said the nation spent $700,000 to renovate the space for the VA.

Cherokee Nation will provide labs and radiology through what's there already. The VA supplies the doctors.

"This is just primary care, but as we expand our specialty services to make sure we're bringing care to the community where the Veterans live, we'll have the opportunity to bring some specialty care up here, but it is on the books and we're working on it," said VA Eastern Oklahoma Director Dr. Kimberly Denning.

The VA estimates that 1,000 veterans live close by and could use the clinic for care instead of traveling to Claremore, Tulsa or Muskogee.

"To my knowledge, this is a first of its kind with a sovereign nation, and this partnership really is an accomplishment," Dr. Denning said.

The clinic opened as soon as the ribbon was cut, with appointments already underway.