Topeka VA Confirms Chief Of Staff, Deputy Transferred

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/AP) -- The medical staff at Topeka's Colmery-O'Neil VA Hospital is under new leadership and its emergency room could reopen soon.

Chief of Staff Dr. Rajeev Treham and Deputy Chief of Staff Sandeep Chhahira were both transferred within the VA system, confirmed Jim Gleisberg, spokesperson for the VA's Eastern Kansas Health Care System. He did not say where, though, calling it a private, personnel matter.

Gleisberg also noted staffing at the hospital's urgent care unit is now at the level required for an emergency room. However, he added that the facility does not have permission to reopen an ER and doesn't know when it could happen. Colmery O'Neil's emergency room closed in January, citing a physician shortage.

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) released a statement applauding the developments, but she says she still has concerns about the VA's overall management.

"There's obviously a great deal of work to be done and certainly no grace period for the new leaders at Colmery-O'Neil," said Jenkins.

Earlier Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said 110 Kansas veterans are waiting for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics for 90 days or more. An additional 977 veterans in Kansas who have enrolled in the VA health care system during the past 10 years have never had appointments.

The audit shows 104 patients are on an electronic waiting list at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita. Six are awaiting care through the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, which has facilities in Topeka and Leavenworth.

The federal department also says 636 veterans who enrolled for care at the Wichita center in the past decade never had an appointment. Another 341 who enrolled in Topeka or Leavenworth have not had an appointment.

Posted by Nick Viviani