Kansas Congressional delegation pushes VA on reopening Topeka VA medical center ER

WASHINGTON (KSNT) – Republican Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Lynn Jenkins pushed the Veterans Administration Monday, demanding to know why the Topeka medical center’s emergency room remains closed.

Last week the two met with the director of the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center to talk about the delays in getting the emergency room reopened, and believed it would be open by June 1st, according to the management of Colmery-O’Neil.

After they failed to open on June 1st Congresswoman Jenkins and Senator Moran placed a call to VA Secretary McDonald and discovered there was a new timeline of 6 weeks until the emergency room is opened.

Congresswoman Jenkins issued the following statement to KSNT News Thursday.

“In spite of being reassured several times that the ED would be reopened by the end of May, I was extremely disappointed and frustrated to hear today that it could be as many as six weeks before this is actually true. My first priority is to ensure the safety and security of our veterans healthcare and I will continue to monitor this situation closely until the ED reopens.”

Senator Moran also issued a statement.

“My request for an update about the delay in reopening Colmery-O’Neil’s emergency department resulted in frustrating news from VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson – certain emergency department service areas aren’t yet fully capable of meeting the needs of the veterans. Colmery-O’Neil has a plan in place to address these areas and will seek approval to reopen in the coming weeks. While my first priority is the safety and quality of care for veterans, I will continue to press the VA until this issue is resolved.”

Last Monday, the duo phoned VA Secretary Bob McDonald, personally asking him into looking into the delays in reopening the facility which was closed in January of 2014 due to staffing shortages.

According to a statement Monday the two told McDonald “Bureaucratic red tape at VA Headquarters continues to get in the way of health care for Kansas Veterans.”

Officers at the medical center say the staffing problems were resolved earlier this year and that they have simply been waiting for an official “OK” to reopen the emergency room.

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