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Local

Minooka hosts mobile veterans medical unit

MINOOKA – The Veterans Mobile Medical Unit of Hines VA Hospital was available to area veterans Monday morning and afternoon in the Minooka Village Hall parking lot.

“It’s the first time we’ve been out here to this location,” Mobile Medical Unit social worker Tyler Goodwine said. “It’s been a little slow, but it’s still been a good day.”

Goodwine said most of the veterans who visited the unit Monday came in for assessments.

Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Ken Buck said the unit comes to the American Legion in Morris the first Monday of every month. Beginning this summer, the unit has added other Grundy County locations to its stops on the third Mondays of each month.

So far, it has visited Coal City, Gardner and now Minooka. Buck said he is trying to get a site secured for a Mazon stop next month.

“We don’t have a VA clinic in Grundy County,” Buck said, “so this is nice because it gets services we want veterans to have access to nearby. We are trying to bring more services that our veterans need here.”

Buck said when the unit is in Morris, it averages visits from about 10 veterans. Mobile unit staff include a nurse practitioner, a nurse, an eligibility specialist and a social worker.

Veterans can use the mobile unit for basic health care needs, screenings, mental health needs, some vaccines, blood draws, blood pressure checks and other needs. Flu shots may be available in September or October. No emergent care is offered at the unit, Goodwine added.

Inside the long transformed recreational vehicle is a centrifuge, medical specimen refrigerator, triage area, a screening area and an examination room, complete with everything that can be found in a regular doctor’s office exam room. Goodwine described the unit as “like a doctor’s office on wheels.”

“We are really reaching out to them,” said Latha Panicker, the unit’s nurse practitioner. “I think they appreciate us coming over here.”

Goodwine said veterans may drop in or schedule for appointments.

KNOW MORE

Information about the Veterans Mobile Medical Unit of Hines VA Hospital can be obtained by calling 708-275-8077. Information about other veterans’ programs offered through the Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission can be had by calling 815-941-3152.

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