Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Tulsa Eye Clinic Expands to Meet Growing Demand
The Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa opened two additional examination rooms (also called eye lanes) in the Eye Clinic on Dec. 22 to meet the growing demand for optometry services. The Tulsa Eye Clinic now has six examination rooms along with a new waiting room, which will serve both dental and eye clinic patients.
The demand came from a change in eligibility in October 2008. All enrolled Veterans in Priority Groups 1 through 8 or those Veterans exempt from the VA enrollment requirement are eligible for optometry and ophthalmology services, as well as preventive healthcare services that include routine vision testing and eye care services.
Veterans in Priority Groups 1 through 5 or those Veterans exempt from the VA enrollment requirement are eligible for eyeglasses. Veterans in Priority Groups 6, 7 and 8 who receive a vested level of care exam from a VA medical facility are eligible for eyeglasses if the examining optometrist or ophthalmologist determines that there is a medical necessity for them.
The Tulsa Eye Clinic provides optometry services and refers Veterans who are in need of ophthalmology services to the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.
“The rules changed and now more Veterans are eligible to come to the Eye Clinic and more are eligible for glasses if they meet certain acuity requirements,” said Dr. Angela Charlton, section chief for the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) Eye Clinic and Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic Eye Clinic. “The vast majority of our patients meet those acuity requirements and that really opened the door for who’s eligible to come to the Eye Clinic and who’s eligible to get glasses.”
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, prior to the eligibility requirement change, the Tulsa Eye Clinic served 4,120 Veterans. In FY 2010, the number rose to 5,791.
“I’m really excited about the opening of these two new eye lanes, which will allow us to better serve our Veterans in a timely manner,” said Bryan Matthews, JCMVAMC associate director. “This is one of many projects we are working on in our Quest for Excellence.”
Earlier this year, JCMVAMC began a Quest for Excellence which involved the initiation of pivotal changes throughout the facility and clinics. Along with the improvements at the Tulsa Eye Clinic, JCMVAMC has renovated the Muskogee Eye Clinic, remodeled the ICU Waiting Room, added Electronic Bulletin Boards at both the medical center and in Tulsa, and construction continues in Muskogee to add additional parking spaces.
In 2011, JCMVAMC plans to begin a Valet Parking Service and a Veterans Transportation Service, complete renovations on the surgery suite, and offer onsite magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).