NORTHFIELD — U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo announced Friday a new Veterans Affairs clinic is coming to Cape May County.

“We have a commitment from the VA — the money is in place — that Cape May County is going to have a new clinic,” LoBiondo, R-2nd, said at the Atlantic County Community Based Outpatient Clinic. “The VA is going through the traps and the hurdles to be able to do that. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when.”

More details about the clinic will be released in the future, LoBiondo said.

An estimated 355,766 veterans live in New Jersey, according to the VA. In Cape May County, veterans make up nearly 9 percent of the population, one of the highest rates in the state.

Getting veterans access to physical and mental health care and ending suicide among veterans are among the VA’s priorities, said Vincent Kane, medical director of the Wilmington, Delaware, VA Hospital.

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Inspira Health Network, Shore Medical Center and Cape Regional Medical Center are committed to giving veterans the mental and physical care they need, Kane said.

According to the VA, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day in 2014. Six of the 20 were users of VA services.

On Wednesday, the VA and AtlantiCare announced a partnership for veterans who are members of the VA’s Choice Program. With approval from the VA, veterans can get care at AtlantiCare facilities, according to a statement.

“Through this local provider agreement, the VA can partner with AtlantiCare, which has a long history of caring for the community, to increase veterans’ access to high-quality health care when that care is not available through the VA or when the VA is not able to deliver that care timely,” Kane said in a statement.

The VA has established Choice Program relationships with Shore, Cape Regional and Inspira, The Press previously reported.

On Friday, representatives from the four hospitals, LoBiondo and Kane all signed a Suicide Prevention Declaration spelling out how the organizations will commit to preventing suicides.

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Contact: 609-272-7090 Twitter @_waldy

Waldy Diez joined the Press of Atlantic City's breaking news team in July 2017. She's a graduate of Syracuse and Rowan Universities. Previously, she was a morning tv news producer.

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