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Mikulski visits Cumberland Vets Clinic

April 1st, 2016 by WCBC Radio

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) on Thursday visited the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cumberland Outpatient Clinic. The Cumberland facility, the second VA community-based outpatient clinic in Maryland and one of the first in the nation, saw 44,000 patient visits in 2015.


“Maryland veterans who have fought for our freedom deserve a government on their side. I’m so pleased to visit the Cumberland VA Clinic to ensure that promises made to our veterans are promises kept,” Senator Mikulski said. “I fought to create the VA outpatient clinic system and helped open the Cumberland Clinic in 1991. It has meant that veterans in Western Maryland can get the care they need in their home community without having to drive more than 100 miles. Today it serves more than 44,000 patient visits each year! I’ll continue to fight so that Maryland veterans and their families receive the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”


As a member of the Senate Military Family Caucus and the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus, Senator Mikulski has been a tireless advocate for the health and well-being of veterans and military families. In her role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski worked to establish 12 community-based clinics in Maryland through the VA. The Cumberland Outpatient Clinic, opened in 1991, was the second regional community-based clinic in Maryland and one of a handful throughout the nation when it was established.


With more than 21,000 veterans living in Western Maryland, the Cumberland VA clinic saw more than 44,000 patient visits in 2015. It is one of 12 VA outpatient clinics in Maryland and 800 nationwide. Since undergoing significant renovations in 2004, the facility has expanded by nearly 50 percent, allowing doctors to offer additional primary care services in critical areas like mental health and women’s health.


Before the Cumberland facility opened in 1991, veterans in Western Maryland often had to travel well outside their communities for the care and benefits they have earned and deserve. Many would have to go to Martinsburg, West Virginia, with some driving distances of more than 100 miles to receive basic health services like eye care and foot care.


Following a meeting with the leadership of the Cumberland Outpatient Clinic, Senator Mikulski toured the facility where she received a demonstration of the clinic’s cutting-edge telemedicine services. Through telemedicine, patients are able to receive regular preventative exams and specialist care here in their home community, with a specialist that may be based elsewhere in the region. This cuts down on commutes, reduces wait times and helps prevent unnecessary office visits.


Senator Mikulski viewed a demonstration in tele-retina technology, which is used to screen patients for early signs of vision loss due to diabetes. Tele-retinal imaging allows clinic staff to scan the patient’s eye and send the resulting image to an eye care specialist for examination. Cumberland Outpatient Clinic is also improving patient access to specialist care through additional telemedicine services such as tele-dermatology, tele-rehab and tele-podiatry.


At the Cumberland Outpatient Clinic, Senator Mikulski also met with local veteran leaders. Among them were representatives from national Veterans Service Organizations, including Vietnam Veterans of America, the Marine Corps League, Veterans of Foreign War and the American Legion.


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