LIBERAL, KS– It can be difficult to get enough doctors into rural Kansas towns, but in Liberal the VA hospital is struggling to get local vets just one.
“We don’t have enough docs,” said Francisco Chacon, a private practice and emergency room doctor in Liberal, “That’s just the short of it.”
“If there is an emergency or anything like that, they send us to the hospital over here or we can go to the hospital in Wichita,” said Army Vet Frank Ruano. “Sometimes I feel like we are out of place.”
The clinic hasn’t had a doctor for two years and Dr. Chacon said the VA just can’t compete with other communities and hospitals in bigger towns with more going on.
“It makes it a challenge because there aren’t a lot of options,” he said.
The veterans stay positive about the absence of a full time physician.
“It’d be nice if we had a doctor, but we’re a little small,” said Air Force Veteran Joe Thompson, “I don’t blame them.”
Both Thompson and Ruano didn’t have any big complaints about the actual facility, they said all it really needs is a doctor to make it an excellent facility.
“They do a great service here, they do their best even though we don’t have a doctor,” Ruano said, “They try to help everybody. I’m just trying to stay healthy so I don’t need to go to the doctor!”
While the clinic continues the search for a doctor mobile clinics come to Liberal when possible and Vets are offered rides to out of town hospitals when needed.