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Buckley saves Air Force money with opening of new facility

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --   From left to right, Col. Daniel Dant, 460th Space Wing commander, Lynette A. Roff, Director of Veteran Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System, and Lt. Col. Scot Spann, 460th Medical Group deputy commander, cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the new Buckley Clinic, April 26, 2012.  The clinic was built as a collaboration between Buckley AFB and the VA, saving Buckley more than $150,000 a year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- From left to right, Col. Daniel Dant, 460th Space Wing commander, Lynette A. Roff, Director of Veteran Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System, and Lt. Col. Scot Spann, 460th Medical Group deputy commander, cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the new Buckley Clinic, April 26, 2012. The clinic was built as a collaboration between Buckley AFB and the VA, saving Buckley more than $150,000 a year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk)

AURORA, Colo. -- Buckley Air Force Base and Veteran's Affairs leadership gathered April 25 to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the new Buckley Clinic. A state-of-the-art faciltiy for Airmen and employees of the 460th Medical Group.

Although construction is not completed, for the VA Joint Venture Buckley Clinic with an estimated finish time of 2015, Buckley's Clinic is up and running and is providing the same care as it did when located at the Aurora North medical building, according to 1st Lt. Zachary Rumery, 460th Medical Support Squadron.

Care provided at the clinic consists of family practice, optometry, immunizations and mental health, just to name a few.

Saving the Air Force money and working hand-in-hand with the VA will be two benefits the Air Force will obtain by being in the new facility, along with being able to serve approximately 65,000 beneficiaries.

By keeping medical cost between two government agencies, the Air Force will save more than $150,000 a year will be saved by not having to pay for a lease. 460th MDG leadership is also very excited that the VA will be co-located in the future.

"It's truly an honor to be a part of an organization that takes care of our nations warriors, both past with the VA as well as present with the DoD," said Lt. Col. Scot Spann, 460th MDG deputy commander.

Spann explained, without the VA, the new facility wouldn't be possible for years to come. In order to build a facility like the clinic on base through military construction funds it would cost between $30 to $50 million, and those funds wouldn't be available for quite a few years.

He continued to say, Congress mandated a while back that if the VA is to build a facility within so many miles of the installation then the two agencies must work together in combining their facilities. Therefore, the VA is funding the construction of both facilities and the Air Force is responsible for the furnishing. Not only is Buckley getting a new facility, but when the VA is up and running they will also be able to share experience back and forth.

Being a smaller clinic and married to a larger corporation, with a largerger medical system, it will provide better quality and medic oversight to ensure patients get the best care possible, Spann said.

"Hopefully we're going to be sharing a lot of services and really expand our capabilities here at the med group so it will benefit the base as well," Rumery said.

Spann sounded very excited that the plan which started out between 10 to 15 years ago is finally becoming a reality and is progressing nicely.

"It's been a long long time coming and we're just at the (beginning) stages of an amazing partnership with the VA," Spann said.
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