VA Clinic seeing an increasing need in out-of-town vets

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The VA Clinic in Panama City Beach got right to work after a category five hurricane blew through the area.

"Immediately after Hurricane Michael we opened up the Monday after, and we've been open ever since," said Cynthia Summer, the nurse manager at the Panama City VA Outpatient Clinic.

The clinic made itself available to help those in need.

"We had a command center in the parking lot of the Walmart on 23rd Street where we saw many veterans," said Summers.

While the pop-up clinic stayed busy, some patients couldn't stick around.

"We did lose quite a few veterans to relocation and stuff like that," said Summers.

Although some veterans moved, out-of-town vets have kept the VA Clinic busy.

"We also have seen an increase in what we call the traveling vets, the veterans have been coming in and working with construction crews and that type of thing," said Summers.

Officials say there's been an increase in need after the hurricane, but they've been busy since 2016.

That's when the clinic moved out of Naval Support Activity Panama City's gates.

"We've had an increase of veterans from like 4,600 to about 6,800 veterans," said Summers.

The clinic is working to make sure veterans have a short wait time by adding more staff. Two more physicians will soon join the team.

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