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Manchester VA Whistleblowers Ridicule “Broken Hospital System”

Posted by Concerned Veterans for America on

Incompetence and a toxic culture were major themes of whistleblowers’ testimony before a House Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing on the Manchester, New Hampshire VA Medical Center scandal.

Dr. Erik J. Funk of the cardiology department at the Manchester VA Medical Center bluntly stated his prognosis of the situation to the committee:

“What needs to be conveyed today is that the VA Manchester is currently an absolutely and unequivocally a broken hospital system.”

Funk joined several other former Manchester VA employers and current employees in describing a system so bad, that current measures being implemented by the VA have done little to improve the Manchester VA.

Remarkably, a year before the Boston Globe broke its investigation of the Manchester VA, the facility’s rating was raised from three stars to four stars. Yet, the employees who worked and experienced the mismanagement, negligence, and harm veterans faced every day showed this rating was nothing more than a façade concealing alarming conditions.

Veterans faced a fly-infested operating room where rust and blood were found on surgical instruments and other conditions so poor they were described as only being seen in 3rd World countries. However, the quality issues largely stem from the leadership at the top and the bureaucratic, administrative employees – not from the clinical nurses and doctors.

Dr. Funk lamented the leadership of the facility created a culture of disrespect and focused on bureaucratic needs, rather than the clinical needs of veterans. He stated:

“Physicians were completely disenfranchised regarding any input in directing the medical center programs at the VA…The next jolting revelation was that the medical center was essentially run by the administrative level nursing staff (rather than physicians) who were ill equipped to manage a medical center.”

Making matters worse, Dr. Ritamarie Moscola said veterans can expect the status quo to go unchanged:

“Officials removed from one job and placed in other positions of power despite the many decisions made that knowingly negatively affected Veterans. The hierarchy that enabled the poor and unsafe care of our Veterans are still in place and continue to make decisions without involvement of content experts and clinical staff.”

Dr. Edward Kois, a VA Physician at the Manchester Medical Center reiterated the concern that the facility has not improved since the Boston Globe story came out over a month ago. In his testimony, Kois said:

“Conditions are still unacceptable in the OR and other practice areas where managers who were put in place by Carol Williams, who was removed from her position by Dr. Shulkin on August 4th. In fact, although Dr. Shulkin removed Dr. James Schlosser as Chief of Staff on July 16, 2017, he has applied to be the new Community Care Director at the Manchester VA, and appeared before a screening committee on September 7, 2017. How can this happen?”

The VA has pledged to rectify the issues of the Manchester VA, but they have their work cut out for them. Although Dr. Shulkin and the Trump Administration have taken several steps in the right direction, much more work is needed.

The VA cannot continue to operate as normal and keep placing veterans’ lives in danger. In order to ensure veterans get the care they so richly deserve, real solutions need to be offered. CVA’s bipartisan policy taskforce lays out how the VA can empower veterans and truly put the veteran at the center of their health care decisions.

Incompetence, negligence, and a broken system cannot remain the norm for our veterans.

The post Manchester VA Whistleblowers Ridicule “Broken Hospital System” appeared first on Concerned Veterans for America.

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