- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A data software issue will stall the reopening of a Topeka veteran hospital’s emergency room by at least six weeks after a staffing shortage led to its closing last year.

The delay comes just over a week after Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Lynn Jenkins were told the understaffing issue had been resolved at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center emergency room, The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1QaoMtP ) reported. The lawmakers were told the unit likely would open by the end of May after the hospital received reauthorization paperwork.

But the Veterans Affairs Central Office in Washington, D.C., has ordered the hospital to spend six weeks updating the emergency room’s data software, which collects patient information.

“That data has not been collected correctly or to the extent that the VA Central Office wanted,” said Jim Gleisberg, spokesman for the VA Heartland Network, the agency’s regional division. “We need to spend six weeks collecting that data before they allow us to open it up.”

The reopening being pushed back has left Moran and Jenkins frustrated. Jenkin’s office said Thursday that both Republicans had called VA secretary Bob McDonald on Monday and were told of the new six-week timeline.

“In spite of being reassured several times that the (emergency department) would be reopened by the end of May,” Jenkins said in a statement, “I was extremely disappointed and frustrated to hear today that it could be as many as six weeks before this is actually true.”

Moran’s office said the VA will be assessing the hospital’s progress in working to reopen the emergency room on a weekly basis.

The emergency room was closed in January 2014 after several physicians departed, leaving it critically understaffed.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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