Few local veterans appear to be taking advantage of a program that lets them get medical care locally.
“I get all my medical care from the VA,” Warren Kreutziger said.
Kreutziger, Marion, said Marion’s lack of specialists is one reason he still makes the drive to Wichita to get care from VA. Some of his medical needs can’t be met by local physicians.
Kreutziger has Medicare as well as VA care, so that gives him choices, particularly for prescriptions. He uses his Medicare drug coverage for prescriptions. He’s aware, though, that not everyone has those options.
“For someone who doesn’t have any Medicare or private health insurance, I can see a benefit in them going to the VA,” he said.
Under the Choice program, veterans who live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or clinic, or whose circumstances create difficulty in traveling there for medical care, are qualified but must apply. The program covers only care for VA-approved medical needs.
Canada resident Garry Klose also sticks with the VA medical system.
“I guess I opted out,” he said.
While traveling, Klose once ended up at an Olathe hospital not affiliated with VA and was left holding a bill.
“I told my better half, ‘Whatever it is, you put me in the car and take me to VA,’” Klose said. “I just decided I’m not going to go to a different doctor.”
Klose said he’s satisfied with both the treatment and the wait time for an appointment.
Marion resident Jim Davis sees physicians both inside and outside VA.
He goes to Wichita for an annual physical at the VA, and for other medical needs sees a specialist in McPherson using his Medicare coverage.