Letter To Jenkins Says VA Is "Aggressively" Recruiting Medical Staffers

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW-TV) -- A letter from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to Rep. Lynn Jenkins says help is on the way.

The letter, dated October 22, 2013 from the VA Secretary addresses a letter sent to the Department of Veteran's Affairs from Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R) about the Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center's staffing problems and concern for patient care.

Shinseki states that the issues Jenkins pointed out will be reviewed by the Under Secretary for Health. He also goes on to say, "I have been assured that the Emergency Department (ED) remains open to Veterans seeking immediate or emergent care."

An exit interview summary listed in the letter states that the five staff members from the Emergency Department that have left the Veterans Affairs Eastern Kansas Health Care System in the past year have left for various reasons.

Those reasons include moving to be closer to family, retirement, spouse relocation, and accepting a better salary and work schedule.

Shinseki goes on to say that the Veterans Integrated Service Network 15 Director, William Patterson, M.D., is working closely with the facility Director to "augment plans to address medical staffing and continue to aggressively recruit to fill vacancies."

Jenkins said, “While I am not at all satisfied with Secretary Shinseki’s response to my concern about the staffing problems at Colmery-O’Neil, fortunately, I believe Director Klopfer at the local level is treating the situation very seriously. I will continue to work with Director Klopfer and will be making additional requests of Sec. Shinseki to encourage him to treat this with the seriousness it warrants.”