Dole VA Medical Center Adding Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Facility

Feb 19, 2019

Veterans who struggle with substance abuse disorders will have a new treatment option in south-central Kansas.

The Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center is building a residential rehabilitation facility on its Wichita campus.

When it opens next year, veterans will no longer have to drive to Topeka, Leavenworth or Kansas City for inpatient VA care.

Dr. John Chelf, associate chief of staff for behavioral health, says the unlocked facility fills the gap between outpatient counseling and locked inpatient treatment.

"This enables them to have a place to stay where they come in and attend intensive outpatient programs where they would have several meetings per week," Chelf says.

Chelf says rehabilitation and treatment services will address addiction, mental illness and medical conditions.

"The veterans will be able to participate in group therapies and individual therapies based on their individual needs and in accordance with their own individualized treatment and recovery program," Chelf says.

The building costs $4.4 million and is expected to be completed in October. Staff will begin seeing patients in winter 2020. The facility will have space for 12 inpatient beds with room to grow to 15.

In addition to treating substance abuse disorders, Chelf says the Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program at Dole identifies and addresses goals of rehabilitation, recovery, health maintenance, improving quality of life and community integration.

The VA also plans to host community substance abuse recovery meetings in the new building.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.