The Salem VA clinic in Dent County will extend its hours to full time from the current three days a month, according to 8th District Congressman Jason Smith. He said the clinic is hiring staff to fill the need.

“It looks like as soon as they get the staff, they’re going to be open,” Smith said. “This is something that is very important and well-needed whenever you are talking about access to veterans because veterans aren’t able to drive two hours for care. This just helps provide the service and the benefits that these veterans deserve.”

The clinic serves veterans in about a six-county region (including Texas County) and has not announced when the hours will be extended.

Nearly 6,000 Missourians, including about 1,600 rural veterans, have signed a petition asking the clinic to be open five days a week.

“I have no doubt that there will be enough people that will utilize these services,” Smith said. “When you look at just the 8th Congressional District alone, we have nearly 60,000 veterans. The more access that our veterans can have, the better that they’ll be able to receive their care and their benefits.”

Smith, who lives in Salem, said the clinic will also be moving to a larger facility nearby.

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