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story.lead_photo.caption Photo by Associated Press / News Tribune.

The Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital is hosting an engagement event for veterans from 8-10 a.m. Thursday in the new Jefferson City Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, 3430 W. Edgewood Drive.

Veterans and their families are invited to have coffee and discuss issues with the hospital's executive leadership team.

During the event, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will celebrate the clinic's opening with a ribbon cutting.

The clinic replaces one the VA operated at 2707 W. Edgewood Drive. The VA needed room to expand services — it offers 10 primary care exam rooms, four more than in the old location. The clinic is 10,476 square feet, while the old one was 7,625 square feet.

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It also offers services, such as a women's health exam room, something the old clinic did not offer.

"While we appreciate very much receiving positive feedback, we also want (veterans) to feel free to discuss any concern that they may have," said Jeffrey Hoelscher, a public affairs officer with the VA. "So it's really an opportunity to have direct contact with the hospital's leadership. Again, it's a very informal event, with veterans and their families talking with different (leadership) members in smaller groups over a cup of coffee."

The VA's new program aimed at creating healthier lifestyles for veterans, called Whole Health for Life, takes a new approach to health care, officials said.

Instead of traditional "sick medicine" — where patients come in to see their doctors when they're sick, receive medicine and go home until they get sick again — Whole Health encourages patients to come in while they're healthy. It uses programs to promote healthy lifestyles.

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