Clinic facilities

A local clinic provides health care to veterans in the valley

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System ensures Valley veterans receive the care they need during and after serving the country.

Ronald Griffin, a U.S. Navy Reserve veteran, said he was receiving medical attention at the VA Clinic.

“I went to the VA, and they checked my ears and thought it was only 20% working,” Griffin said.

Benefits are provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sandra Sanchez, Griffin’s daughter, said she helped with the healthcare application process, and although the pandemic put the process on hold for two years, Griffin is now receiving her benefits.

“There are so many benefits available to veterans, you just have to pursue and be patient, but they’re very helpful,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez explained that a package containing his father’s military service history and requests for medical appointments arrived in the mail.

The healthcare benefit package and process has become more than just a doctor’s appointment, according to Sanchez.

“We learned what he did for the service. Listening to sonar is very early. Growing up, I never knew that about him and all that experience gave me a better understanding that he was more than a federal government employee, a patent examiner. I mean, he served in the Navy reserves,” Sanchez said.

Many Valley veterans like Griffin need access to care, which is why the Office of Veterans Affairs ensures that all veterans can receive proper health care.

“In the Rio Grande Valley we have three clinics, two in Harlingen, one is an outpatient clinic and one is a specialty clinic. At McAllen, we also have an outpatient clinic,” said VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System Director Homero Martinez.

Martinez is not only the director of the health system, but he is also a veteran.

He oversees 1,500 employees and said more than a third of them are veterans.

Martinez explained that with more than 3,000 providers in the Valley, Corpus Christi and Laredo area, they are able to provide treatment for most conditions.

“Primary care is at the heart of our establishment, it’s what we do every day. As our population ages, we want to make sure we go to our veterans’ homes and provide care there as well,” Martinez said.

He said patient care at the facilities has improved over the years.

“We had to develop a culture. A culture that ensures our veterans are appropriately cared for to ensure our staff are also cared for and that we had the right resources in place,” he explained.

The culture has earned the facility high patient experience scores called the Trust Score, with women’s scores being the highest, according to Martinez.

He said they also earned the nation’s top spot in employee satisfaction surveys.