Federal lawmakers humbled officials from the Veterans Affairs Department and called into question the overall quality of the healthcare it delivers after hearing highly emotional testimony from a widow whose husband died last year after an alleged botched surgery at Marion (Ill.) VA Medical Center.
When veterans come to VA hospitals and outpatient clinics, they should not have to worry about whether or not their physician has a valid license to practice medicine, said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.), the senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Oversight and Investigations Committee.
The committees hearing comes just one day after the VA released two internal reports that showed nine patientsand possibly 10 morehave died and dozens more have become sicker than they were because of substandard care they received at the troubled 115-bed Marion VA Medical Center. All told, the VAs inspector general and medical inspector each found instances where surgeons at Marion performed complex procedures they were not authorized to do. They also found a flawed credentialing process, according to the VA.
In all the prior testimony that I have given before this committee, I have unequivocally said that I believe veterans are getting excellent, quality healthcare, John Daigh Jr., the VAs assistant inspector general for healthcare inspections, told lawmakers. Im less certain of that today than I have been in the past. Daigh said that his confidence has been shaken after the quality issues were discovered at multiple VA sites, including facilities in Martinsburg, W.Va., Salisbury, N.C., and San Antonio. -- by Matthew DoBias
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