Ongoing Changes Keeps Rim Veterans Clinic In Limbo

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While Dr. Michael Lowe is now serving as the interim primary care provider at the Payson Veterans Affairs Health Care Clinic, the efforts of area veterans to secure a more full-service facility remain in limbo.

Since early 2011, area veterans have worked to get a clinic that can provide more services than the VA’s contract allows Lowe and his staff to offer.

Budget concerns caused Congressman Paul Gosar and his staff to be less than encouraging. A series of changes in the leadership of the VA health services in Arizona and its contract with its past provider, Health Net, have stalled the effort according to Jim Muhr, chair of the committee working on the project.

He said the VA still has no formal contract with Lowe and Health Net is not going to be involved any longer. That means the VA must find another provider with whom to contract.

“There are still issues with veterans and services from the Prescott VA,” Muhr said. These include restrictions on services and travel costs.

The committee remains active and is working with the leadership at both the Phoenix and Prescott VA hospitals to expand services for women veterans, he said.

“The veterans are very pleased with Dr. Lowe,” Muhr said.

The group is still looking at available space. During the recent discussion regarding the Payson Unified School District’s plans for the shuttered Frontier Elementary School, committee member Bud Huffman said the group had an interest in the facility. However, the school board has since decided to sell off the school site.

Lowe’s office is at the Peak Medical Clinic, located at 903 E. Highway 260, (928) 468-2100.

To learn more about the effort to get a Rim Country veterans clinic or to help with the project, call Muhr at (928) 474-4530.

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