Manchester VA Director, Chief of Staff Removed Pending Investigation

Geronimo Vena
Luglio 17, 2017

A group of 11 whistleblowers, including some physicians and other medical personnel, contacted the federal government and the Boston Globe with complaints of unsafe conditions, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin removed the director and chief of staff at the Manchester VA medical center after a report lambasted the facility for poor care.

The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel had already been investigating the hospital and found a "substantial likelihood" of a danger to public health, according to the news report.

"These are serious allegations, and we want our veterans and our staff to have confidence in the care we're providing", Shulkin said in a written statement. A replacement for the Manchester VA's Chief of Staff James Schlosser has not yet been announced.

The VA Office of the Medical Inspector and the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection are being sent in beginning Monday to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the Manchester VAMC, including all allegations in the article. Kuster said she was "deeply concerned".

Much of the Globe's report focused on accounts from Dr. William "Ed" Kois, head of Manchester VA's spinal cord clinic, who compiled a list of at least 80 patients at the hospital over five years suffering from advanced and potentially crippling nerve compression in the neck, and using canes, wheelchairs and walkers, instead of getting surgery. I appreciate the seriousness with which Secretary Shulkin is taking this matter, and I will continue to monitor the investigation closely and provide assistance through the House VA Committee.

"It's like if you suddenly saw cases of syphilis - a disease that has always been curable with penicillin", Kois said.

Sununu said that although he does not have direct jurisdiction over the VA, he is calling for an investigation.

The VA said the director of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont, will serve as the new director of the Manchester VA.

"They need to put their money where their mouth is", he said.

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