Topeka VA Hospital Puts Emergency Department On Pause

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/AP)-- Veterans looking for emergency treatment at the Topeka VA hospital will now be forced to seek treatment elsewhere.

The Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center is putting a hold on emergency room services for veterans.

Veterans Health Officials say the move is temporary, citing a current physician shortage.

The move will change the Topeka VA hospital into an urgent care. A. Rudy Klopfer, the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care Director said, "Those ambulances will not be coming to us through that emergency, but we will provide the care to those that come through our doors in that urgent care setting or through primary care or mental health."

Despite the move being called temporary by the V.H.A., Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, who is also a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, lashed out at the move. "I have asked time and time again about their failure to address the tremendous shortage of VA physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. It is causing a new VA backlog. A backlog of our nation's heroes who are not receiving the heath care they need.

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins also weighed in on the announcement. "I am pleased that these allegations are being taken seriously and that concrete steps are being taken to ensure veterans in Northeast Kansas get the absolute greatest care they are entitled to." Said Moran.

While those in emergency need are encouraged to call 911, Klopfer feels the dedication to those who heroes that have served our country will remain strong. "The mission of the VA is an important one. It is to take care of our veterans. While we have some challenges, we will continue to do that." Said Klopfer.

The VA is working with local hospitals and ambulance services to ensure that veterans get the emergency care they need.

The Colmery-O'Neil VA Center is currently in the process of working out their staffing issues so they can transition back to handling emergency room services.

News Conference January 31, 2014 announcing Emergency Care will be put on hold.