Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A state of the art health center that will mostly serve veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday.
"Having a VA facility that a veteran is comfortable going to is a significant factor," said Sgt. Maj. Brian Battaglia.
Battaglia serves as the senior adviser to the chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff and delivered special remarks about the first of it's kind health clinic called the Freedom Health Center.
"I've yet to see something as consolidated and and robust as this outpatient facility," Battaglia said. "To my knowledge it's the first of it's kind."
The facility is a one stop shop of sorts, housing everything from primary care to mental health services all under one roof.
"This post deployment integrated care clinic will provide a dynamic capability to care for and provide services for a pletheora of illnesses and injuries for our veterans and service members," Battaglia said.
Right now, the clinic has 34 staff members, with plans to hire more.
Staff estimate the clinic will serve 7,000 South Carolina veterans among all the medical disciplines inside.
"This project started about 6 years ago and stands as a testament of the determination of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Health Administration to provide the highest quality healthcare for our veterans," said Dorn's acting director David Omura.
The Freedom Health Center is a one of kind among VA hospitals nationwide.
Regional and national VA staff say other hospitals are looking to copy what had come together at Dorn.
"I"m just happy to see that medical technology in our armed forces sort of leads the way in our country when it comes to the quality of medical care," Battaglia said.