By Rebecca Rose

Fort Hood Herald

Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center opened the final of three planned extension clinics at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in Killeen.

The Killeen Medical Home is part of an overall Army health care initiative to provide military members with easier access to a team of health care providers in their communities.

"The initiative was to expand the capacity of health care for the Killeen-Fort Hood area, and then to put that health care closer to family members who are living off post," said Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commander of Southern Regional Medical Command and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, after Thursday's ceremony to officially open the Killeen clinic's doors.

"We have a team of health care providers focused on improving access and improving continuity of care," he said.

Wong said positive feedback from the clinics opened earlier this year in Harker Heights and Copperas Cove showed demand was strong for the types of service they provide.

Helping cut the ribbon were members of the Demelo family, including Synthia Demelo, 11, and her sister Aimee, 9.

Staff Sgt. Marcos Demelo, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, said both of his daughters were born at Fort Hood's Darnall complex. Demelo said the new facility was less than five minutes from their home.

"During rush hour, it's kind of hard on (my wife and kids) to go the base, when (physical training) is going on," Demelo said.

"It's great for them to be able to come this short distance," he said.

In the "medical home" extension, patients can see a team of health care providers, coordinated by one primary physician.

Patients who are eligible for service have already received a letter in the mail explaining how to request a change in enrollment to the Killeen Medical Home, which is at 3404 Kaydence Court, off Elms Road near Stan Schlueter Loop.

The Harker Heights Medical Home is in the Market Heights shopping center, and the Copperas Cove Medical Home Clinic is at 458 Town Square on West U.S. Highway 190.

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