Whistleblowers expose Manchester VA hospital

Jul 17, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

On Saturday, July 15 the Boston Globe published an exposé highlighting inadequate and negligent care at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center. 

New Hampshire does not have a full-service veterans hospital, so the medical center in Manchester is the largest health care provider for veterans in the Granite State.  The center provides primary care, some other specialties, and some surgery, but no acute in-patient care.

According to the report:

  • Many veterans suffered severe spine damage because they did not receive proper care
  • One operating room is closed due to a fly infestation that has been a problem since 2007
  • Staff have found rust or blood on surgical instruments that were supposed to be sterile
  • Doctors are over-prescribing opioids
  • Veterans are waiting weeks or even months for appointments through the Choice program, which reimburses veterans for private care

On Sunday the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it was launching an investigation.  In the meantime the department removed Danielle S. Ocker, the medical center director, and James E. Schlosser, chief of staff at the medical center.

The allegations raise several questions about care for veterans in New Hampshire.  Is the issue inadequate funding?  Or is this a matter of mismanagement, particularly of the Choice program?  Or is the problem that New Hampshire does not have a full-service hospital for veterans?  Should the state step in to provide more services to veterans

David Kenney, chairman of the NH State Veterans Advisory Committee, told the Union Leader that the Boston Globe article “doesn’t bring up anything on the progress that has been made” at the Manchester medical center.  The Union Leader did not provide more details on that progress. 

Do you have an opinion on veterans care in New Hampshire?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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