We now know where the free health care clinic for veterans will be in Virginia Beach

The clinic is slated to open March 2019.

The Cohen Veterans Network is currently renovating a suite in this building in Virginia Beach for its newest free veterans mental healthcare facility. (Joshua Weinstein/Southside Daily)
The Cohen Veterans Network is currently renovating a suite in this Virginia Beach building for its newest mental healthcare facility for veterans. (Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Cohen Veterans Network, a privately-funded group of mental health clinics for post-9/11 military veterans, has announced the location of its Virginia Beach facility, slated to open in March 2019.

CVN will open its free mental health clinic inside the Bon Secours Medical Group Building off South Plaza Trail, said Anthony Guido, CVN’s vice president of communications and marketing.

The network partners its clinics with local organizations to better understand the needs of the community, and recently announced its local partner in Hampton Roads.

“We look for partners who best align with our values” and who will “offer a continuum of care beyond what we provide,” said Anthony Hassan, CEO and president of CVN.

Related story: Billionaire funds new mental health clinic for veterans in Virginia Beach

CVN selected The Up-Center as its local partner organization after months of community round tables, interviews, and assessments. Hassan said CVN chose the Norfolk-based group because their services complement those of the network.

“The Up Center has a strong competency in mental health counseling services and our mission is closely aligned to the work of the Cohen Veterans Network,” said President and CEO of The Up Center Tina Gill, who added that the partnership “expands our capacity to serve veterans and military families in our community.”

Guido said CVN will commit around $10 million to The Up-Center over three years, depending on the clinic size and client demand.

The Virginia Beach clinic will employ a full range of mental health professionals — such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage counselors, a clinic director, as well as administrative and outreach workers. Between 12 to 14 people will staff the clinic.

“All of the employees will be full-time, except for the psychiatrist, which is based on demand,” Hassan said. Psychiatrists are typically needed only 16 to 20 hours a week.

The clinic will provide mental health care services to veterans and their families, regardless of the veterans’ discharge status. It will also provide same-day care for those having mental-health crises.

Related story: Here are new details on Virginia Beach’s free mental health clinic

Hassan said CVN is able to make such a guarantee because they build time into clinicians’ schedules to allow for emergency appointments.

“That’s what makes us different,” Hassan said, “we have a clinician utilization rate (number of patients seen per hour) that allows them the flexibility to handle the influx of same-day appointments.”

CVN is entirely supported by Steven Cohen, a billionaire hedge-fund manager who pledged $275 million to open clinics to combat PTSD. All health care is provided free to patients.

The first clinic opened in April 2016, and there are now 10 clinics nationwide. CVN plans to meet their goal of 25 clinics by the end of 2020.

Hassan said construction of the 10,000-square-foot facility in Virginia Beach is slated to “begin any day now.”

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