VA confirms interest in opening outpatient clinic in Warsaw area

By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed that Warsaw is being strongly considered for a new Community-Based Outpatient Clinic that would serve north central Indiana.

A spokesperson for the VA responded to a series of questions from News Now Warsaw Tuesday after the subject came up Monday night at a zoning meeting involving Parkview Health’s plan to construct an office complex and a 14,000 square foot surgical center on CR 200N in Warsaw.

At Monday’s zoning meeting, Michael Hoffman, an attorney representing Parkview, briefly referenced that the VA was considering a clinic that would be part of the overall construction plan.

Parkview’s zoning request was approved and construction on the surgical center is expected to begin within months, but plans for a VA clinic — if ever approved — are likely years away.

Alex Sharpe, Public Affairs Officer for the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System in Fort Wayne confirmed the VA’s interest, but stressed that nothing has been decided.

The VA responded to a series of questions Tuesday, but very few details were made available. 

They did provide some insights, though.

As part of the VA’s Northern Indiana Health Care System‘s efforts to provide care closer to Veterans,“we have identified adding a clinic in the Warsaw area will help to fill a geographical void between the Jackie Walorski Clinic in Mishawaka, the Hoosier Clinic in Peru and our two main campuses in Marion and Fort Wayne.”

The VA also added that they are currently “in the pre-solicitation phase for a 15,000 square foot lease for a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in or around Warsaw, Indiana, in alignment with the VA’s intent of providing care closer to our Veterans.”

Kosciusko County’s veteran’s service officer, Darryl McDowell, said Tuesday he had heard the talk of plans by the VA to consider Warsaw. He stressed that the VA’s interest is still far from being finalized and would likely be years away from becoming a reality because of the lengthy approval process.

Nonetheless, he’s enthused about the opportunities such a move would provide for local veterans.

“I look at it as a very positive (thing),” McDowell said. “Right now, transportation is a big challenge for getting veterans to appointments that are VA related.”

Part of the problem is that transportations services for veterans are often limited to appointments within the county, McDowell said.

He said Kosciusko County ranks 24th among Indiana’s 92 counties with the number of veterans identified as residents.

News Now Warsaw was told by a business entity early this year that the VA had been looking at two other sites in Warsaw, but the government agency did not respond to questions at the time.