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Emergency Room Reopens at Topeka V-A

(Image credit: KHI.org)
(Image credit: KHI.org)

The emergency room at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka has been closed for more than 500 days. But as Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, that changes today (TUE).


The Emergency Room at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka closed in January 2014 after several doctors left at virtually the same time.  The VA hired Dr. Fatima Khan to run the emergency department in early April. Since then, she’s been working to bring it into compliance with VA rules and regulations.  Meanwhile, members of the Kansas congressional delegation grew impatient, particularly Republican Senator Jerry Moran. He says the ER could have been back online sooner if VA officials hadn’t used some of the money appropriated to recruit staff to instead cover cost overruns at hospital construction projects.  “What causes the hair on the back of my neck to go up is, ‘how about using the money to get the people recruited and retained at the hospitals and clinics that we already have,” Moran says.  Even though the ER is re-opening, it is still isn’t equipped to provide emergency cardiac services. That means for the time being, veterans who suffer heart attacks and strokes will have to be taken to other hospitals.  I'm Jim McLean. 


Jim McLean, Executive Editor of KHI News Service, oversees the KHI News Service. From 2005 until 2013, McLean coordinated all communications activities at KHI as Vice President for Public Affairs. The position he now occupies was created as part of a strategic initiative to solidify the editorial and operational independence of the KHI News Service. Prior to coming to KHI, McLean had a distinguished career as a journalist, serving as the news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. During his more than 20 years in Kansas journalism, McLean won numerous awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In 1997, McLean and two Capital-Journal colleagues received the Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism for a series of stories on the state’s business climate. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washburn University.