Assistant County Administrator Jerry Cameron just returned from Washington, D.C., where he testified before a congressional panel looking into recent handling of leases on medical clinics by the U.S. Veterans Administration in Northeast Florida.
Cameron’s testimony about the fiasco with the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in St Augustine apparently hastened the award of approximately 20,000 square feet in the Memorial Health Plaza at 3901 University Blvd South, in Jacksonville.
“They had been waiting in Jacksonville even longer than us,” Cameron told Historic City News editor Michael Gold earlier this week. “But this is the best sign of progress we have seen.”
Cameron went on to say that he got verbal encouragement from management on the national level for the St Augustine clinic; originally expected to move into the county’s new Health and Human Services facility. Since that time, Cameron kept Historic City News aware of a multitude of stonewall tactics and repeated stalling by the V.A. officials in Gainesville.
Since Congressman DeSantis has raised awareness in Washington of the issues and consequences for some 3,000 area veterans who count on the local clinic, Cameron says he has grounds for renewed hope that St Johns County will hear an announcement, similar to Jacksonville, in the coming weeks.
Initial design meetings for the Jacksonville space, which will be renovated to provide for Primary Care, Mental Health, Phlebotomy, and office-based Specialty Care clinics, were scheduled to be held this week. Work on the first phase is anticipated by the end of August.