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Kansas Lawmakers Call Out Wichita VA


Kansas legislators want answers from the Wichita VA hospital about a secret waiting list for veterans needing care. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson has the story...

Disparities between the numbers of veterans placed on a secret waiting list for medical care have caught the attention of Kansas lawmakers.

Congressman Tim Huelskamp spoke on the phone with Dole Medical Center’s Director Francisco Vazquez June 4 and asked for assurance and documentation on the facility’s system as to the extent of the problem.

In the report Huelskamp requested, Vazquez said the unauthorized list involved the Home Based Primary Care program (HBPC), a system for veterans who might benefit from primary care delivered to the home. He said the list was discovered May 21 and a total of 385 patients were on it. There are 14 veterans on the list who have not received primary care from any veteran's affairs (VA) source.

“This is a very deep problem that's been going on for many years," Huelskamp says. "It’s a culture of non-accountability and not only does Congress have much to do, but the President of the United States and whoever he appoints to run the VA needs to look very closely and take seriously these clear cases of abuse and lack of access for critical care for our veterans.”

An audit released yesterday by the Department of Veterans Affairs found 110 Kansas veterans to have waited more than three months for an appointment at VA hospitals and clinics. The secret list in Wichita accounted for 104 of those patients.

The audit also revealed that 636 veterans who enrolled for care at the Wichita center in the past decade never had an appointment.