PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. -- The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) marked the opening of its Panama City Beach Community-Based Outpatient Clinic’s (CBOC) Face to Face and Tele-Audiology Hearing Health Services with an Oct. 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The nearly $700,000 project included modification of existing office spaces into audiology specific treatment rooms designed for hearing testing and hearing aid modification and fitting; the construction of a sound suite with a doubled-walled sound booth for audiologist-led hearing testing; and the construction of a treatment room designed to accommodate all hearing aid clinic needs as well as a supply room.
Under construction since April 2021, the Tele-Audiology Joint Incentive Fund (JIF) project was completed in early September, significantly expanding the Panama City Beach CBOC’s tele-audiology capabilities, according to GCVHCS Facility Strategic Planner Dominic Duplichien.
“This JIF project has more than doubled the clinic’s availability and brought cutting-edge diagnostic testing capabilities to the Panama City Beach area,” Duplichien said. “This joint effort with Department of Defense establishes needed face-to-face and tele-audiology services for our Veterans in the Florida panhandle.”
While audiology services were introduced at the Panama City Beach CBOC in 2018, the demand for audiology services exceeded the capacity, necessitating Veterans visiting the Joint Ambulatory Care Clinic (JACC) in Pensacola, Florida, or obtaining a referral to visit a health care provider in the community.
“This will increase accessibility, provide continuity of care, decrease travel costs and reduce community care expenditures,” said GCVHCS Chief of Audiology Dr. Margaret Peak. “Making sure our Veterans are taken care of has always been our top priority, and for those with hearing impairments, this represents expanded access through which they can receive care.”
The Gulf Coast Veterans Healthcare System is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 81,000 Veterans and other beneficiaries at five locations in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.