Area veterans will soon be closer to routine medical care.

Thee Department of Veterans Affairs announced Friday that four new VA clinics will open in Oklahoma in the next 15 months - one in Craig County.

The new community clinics are part of an initiative to open 44 new VA clinics in 21 states.

“This growth in community clinics has helped VA meet veterans' expectations for prompt, quality service, with 98 percent of veterans seen within 30 days in all types of VA primary care facilities throughout the country,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.

In addition to the new Craig County facility, community clinics will be built in Altus, Enid and Jay in the next 15 months.

There are already VA community clinics in Ardmore and Ponca City and at the Fort Sill Army post in Lawton.

Veterans Affairs also has medical centers in Muskogee and Oklahoma City, and outpatient clinics in Konawa and Tulsa.

In addition to on-site primary care staff, today's modern outpatient clinics frequently feature state-of-the-art telehealth systems permitting veterans to maintain regular contact with doctors in specialties from cardiac care to mental health at regional VA hospitals linked for video consultations, coupled with telemetry of health data or images.

A highly acclaimed national health records system allows practitioners at even remote clinics to review patient records stored at VA facilities anywhere in the country.

“VA's 21 regional networks develop applications for new clinics in consideration of reducing the distance veterans travel to their nearest VA hospital or clinic, as well as local demand, existing hospital, clinic workload and other factors,” Peake said.