Paul Mimms, vice president of the National Blinded Veterans Association, touted a new Veterans Affairs outpatient Clinic in Kansas City for honoring and providing services to veterans who lost their vision in battle or after their service. (Screen capture of Topeka VA Medical Center Facebook video)
TOPEKA — Paul Mimms said he wants to honor veterans who lost their vision in battle or when they returned home.
Mimms, the vice president of the National Blinded Veterans Association, touted a new Veterans Affairs outpatient Clinic in Kansas City for doing just that, providing dedicated services. At the opening of the clinic, he presented the facility with a Bronze Braille Flag.
He said the flag would be a teaching lesson for young blind people who have never seen the U.S. flag and show commitment to treating those who fought for it.
“We veterans left our comfortable homes and our country to serve underneath that flag,” Mimms said. “Some of us came back without vision. Some of us came back and got old and lost their vision. Doesn’t matter. As we move forward, we want to bring those people with us.”
The new facility is about 5,000 square feet and services include primary care, lab work, pharmacy teleconsultation, virtual care and behavioral health services. There are plans to introduce physical therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture.
Rudy Klopfer, director of VA Eastern Kansas Health Care, said the clinic might not be as big as other facilities but will provide critical services tailored to veterans.
“It is a building, yes, but what goes on in this building, and I’ll say other buildings because we have a great telehealth presence here, is healing and can be healing and soothing,” Klopfer said.
The clinic opening comes a year after a 23,000-square-foot clinic opened in Lenexa. Last month, rural veteran health care advocates gained a key victory in maintaining veteran services in eastern Kansas, when a group of bipartisan U.S. senators blocked a commission reviewing recommendations to overhaul the VA health care system.
The clinic will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Kansas Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran touted the accessibility this clinic would provide. He said many veterans may struggle without a car or access to public transportation.
“Distance matters in Kansas,” Moran said. “Distance can be physical. A long way to travel, certainly in the part of Kansas where I come from, we have experienced that.”
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