Emergency services shut down at Topeka VA Hospital

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Veterans Health Administration has ordered emergency services suspended at a Topeka VA hospital while procedures and staffing are reviewed.

The VA announced the suspension Friday at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center. The hospital will continue to operate as an urgent care clinic while federal officials review its policies, procedures and staffing.

Veterans reporting to the hospital will be given appropriate care but officials are advising veterans with a major medical emergency to call 911. VA officials say they have contacted Topeka hospitals to ensure veterans can get emergency care when needed.

Sen. Jerry Moran, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, called the decision “outrageous.” He says the Veterans Administration has failed to address a long-standing shortage of medical personnel at its hospitals.

“Veterans who have served our nation with duty and honor deserve access to quality health care when they need it,” Sen. Moran said. “Because Kansas is a rural state, many of our veterans are already forced to travel long distances to visit a VA hospital. Now, Topeka veterans are losing access to the emergency care services they could need at any moment. This is outrageous. It is far past time for Secretary Shinseki and the VA to do their job. I have asked time and 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 health care they need. The news today reaffirms my commitment to making certain the VA provides answers and takes action.”

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