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Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic moving to former Hy-Vee grocery store

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 12/2/2022

Dec. 2—WATERLOO — A former Hy-Vee grocery store, empty since 2018, will house new tenants that provide services for veterans.

The Waterloo Community Based Outpatient Clinic for Veterans Affairs is moving from 945 Tower Park Drive to the building on University Avenue. Clinic coordinator Kathy Kroemer said VA officials hope the move will be complete by next summer.

The clinic needs additional space to expand its outpatient services for veterans, Kroemer explained.

"Currently, we have 4,200 veterans in our clinic," she said. "We're hoping to expand some services, so I would anticipate being able to serve more veterans locally."

She said in fiscal year 2022, there were 13,000 patient appointments for primary care and mental health alone. There are almost 7,000 veterans living in Black Hawk County, according to 2020 U.S. Census data.

Yolando Loveless, the director of veterans affairs for Black Hawk County, said his agency helps to transport seven to 14 veterans a month to their appointments. He anticipates the number to double with the new expansion.

"I think it's a great opportunity for veterans of Black Hawk County and surrounding counties and provides flexibility to veterans who don't have to drive to Iowa City for certain appointment(s)," he said. "They can stay locally. This is a great opportunity."

The outpatient clinic provides mental health services, physical therapy, radiology, laboratory services, nutrition services, social services and limited audiology.

Kroemer said the plan is to expand audiology and mental health services, provide optometry services and increase physical therapy services with a larger gym. She hopes to add home-based primary care as well as chiropractic care.

The building, located at 4000 University Ave., is 64,000 square feet. The new outpatient clinic would take up 21,000 square feet of the space. The current space on Tower Park Drive is roughly 9,500 square feet.

Hy-Vee opened on University Avenue in 1977 where it originally occupied part of the old Kmart building at 3810 University Ave. The Hy-Vee then replaced the former Starlite Drive-In Theatre in the early 1990s.

The renovated area of the building housing the new outpatient center will have exam rooms, patient rooms, consult rooms and treatment rooms.

Kroemer said historically, the satellite location moves every 10 to 20 years due to outgrowing spaces as it adds more services. Before the Tower Park Drive location, the outpatient clinic was located at 1015 S. Hackett Road. The first outreach clinic opened in 1998 at Covenant Medical Center.

She said all the funding is through the Iowa City VA.

The facility has 38 employees, but could add more as services expand. Hours will remain the same from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clinic is closed on weekends and holidays.

Kroemer said the expansion will allow veterans to receive more services locally, sparing them a drive to Iowa City.

"If you have any interest in seeing if you're eligible for care through the VA, definitely touch base with Black Hawk County (Veterans Service Office) or through Iowa City," she said.


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