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Local veterans benefit from ARCH project at St. Rose
new slt st-rose-VA-project
St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center health-care providers meet with Project ARCH representatives about a new pilot program that allows veterans to stay closer to home for many medical services. From left to right are: Dr. James McReynolds of Great Bend Internists; Becki Swisher, R.N. and ARCH care coordinator; Linda Stukey, St. Rose LPN; and Cassie Atencio, MSA at ARCH. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Local and area veterans now have the opportunity to receive more of their health-care services at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center, thanks to a federal pilot program. It is called Project ARCH, which stands for Access Received Closer to Home.
James McReynolds, M.D., is one of several St. Rose health-care professionals who have earned the credentials to participate in ARCH. Dr. McReynolds practices at Great Bend Internists, which is part of the St. Rose family.
“We have been involved in ARCH for only a short time and I have already seen about 20 veterans,” Dr. McReynolds said. “I anticipate that number will grow as more people become aware of it. The veterans receive a range of services but most issues involve chronic-disease management.”
These conditions include diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“We also perform well-adult screenings, which the Veterans Administration wants them to have,” Dr. McReynolds noted.
His practice has seen veterans of all ages – from those who served in World War II to others in Desert Storm.
“All those I have seen are glad they don’t have to travel as much,” Dr. McReynolds said. “Some are more frail than others and some don’t have the finances with gas at $3.50 a gallon.
“We see this as a real benefit to veterans and their families,” Dr. McReynolds added. “The VA has been very responsive and helpful.”
Mark Mingenback, St. Rose marketing director, said that Pratt was one of the original five national ARCH pilot sites, which recently expanded into Great Bend.
“We are excited to be part of this great program,” Mingenback said. “There are 350 to 400 veterans in the area that qualify for ARCH and more will be returning home in the near future.”
Veterans can learn if they are eligible for ARCH by contacting their care coordinator at their VA Medical Center. One criterion, for example, is the veteran must live more than 60 minutes driving time from the nearest VA facility that provides primary care.
Mingenback emphasized that central Kansans should thank Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for his instrumental role in passing the legislation that created ARCH.
“We deeply appreciate Sen. Moran for sponsoring this legislation,” Mingenback said. “He fought for it in Congress for a number of years and didn’t give up. St. Rose is gratified to offer this additional access to medical care for those who have served our country.”
Sen. Moran said Project ARCH can enhance a veteran’s quality of life.
“The distances veterans – especially those living in rural America – are forced to travel for health care is a significant burden,” Sen. Moran said. “With nearly 250,000 veterans living in Kansas, improving their access to quality health services closer to their homes is a top priority.
“I am pleased to hear about the expansion of Project ARCH, which enables rural veterans to receive care from their local health-care providers,” he added. “I will continue to look for ways to improve the services our veterans need and deserve.”
Other St. Rose ARCH participants are Jean Pringle, M.D., and physician assistants Ed Habash and Jeanne Burmester, all of Great Bend Internists; and Dr. Stan Hatesohl and Charise Oelger, P.A., both of St. Rose Family Medicine & Urgent Care.