A new medical office that opened Thursday in Fort Walton Beach will have a particular focus on meeting veterans’ healthcare needs, but will offer care to anyone.
FORT WALTON BEACH — Dr. Ivorique Turner brings an impressive resume, and an equally impressive commitment, to her new medical office, which opened late last week in Suite D at 1013 Mar Walt Drive.
As its name indicates, Veterans Healthcare is aimed at serving the needs of the area’s military veterans, but it is open to anyone, including children, needing primary or urgent care.
In addition, the office has a mental health component, and will offer “telemedicine,” remote diagnosis and treatment for people who can’t visit the office.
“We take care of anybody,” said Turner, a board-certified family medicine physician. One focus of the office, she said, will be working closely with area hospitals to meet the needs of the under-served.
“Primary care is critically undermanned,” Turner said at a Thursday ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new office.
With regard to veterans, the office staff, which includes three nurse practitioners — two certified in family medicine and the third certified in mental health care — all are either veterans or have worked with veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Turner said.
That’s a deliberate choice in terms of treating veterans, said Turner, who herself spent 15 years in the Navy. Her service included combat experience, with training at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. She is a graduate of California’’s Western University of Health Sciences.
“We want patients to interact with people who ’get it,’” Turner said, in terms of understanding veterans’ experiences.
At Thursday’s ribbon-cutting, retired Air Force Maj. John “Bosco” Bostick, a former Thunderbirds pilot who served in Vietnam, thanked Turner and the clinic staff for their focus on veterans.
Noting that veterans of the Vietnam War, and succeeding American conflicts, haven’t always gotten due recognition, Bostick said, “What we’re doing right here today ... (is) making an improvement on that situation. ... The veterans thank you.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by a large crowd of local officials and Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce members who heard turner say, “Our mission is to help improve healthcare access for all.”
The Veterans Healthcare facility in Fort Walton Beach is the third Veterans Healthcare office opened by Turner, who serves as CEO and medical director for all three locations.
The two other clinics are in Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach, she said, adding that the significant population of veterans in this area made Fort Walton Beach a logical choice for her new medical care venture. She wants eventually to make Veterans Healthcare a nationwide venture, she said.
Turner followed up her military career with work as a medical director and lead physician in metropolitan Atlanta. Beginning in 2017, she spent a year as the assistant chief medical officer in the Jacksonville office of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It was that experience, Turner said, that has informed her approach to treating veterans. According to Turner, the VA is “just critically undermanned“ to meet the medical needs of veterans.
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation,” she said. Veterans Healthcare is designed to meet a specific need to get veterans seen quickly, and at hours that might not be available at VA healthcare facilities, Turner explained.
Turner said her ultimate goal for Veterans Healthcare in Fort Walton Beach is to offer “an integrated healthcare experience” by adding a pharmacy and other services, also with an eye toward making healthcare access easier for veterans.
“I want to help with healthcare access, particularly with those who have immediate needs,” Turner said.