Congressman Responds to Report on Dorn VA

8:30 PM, Feb 7, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson is speaking out about the final report released on Thursday by the Veterans Affairs Office of Healthcare Inspections on the Dorn VA Medical Center.

The 35-page report details the findings of a year-long investigation into the services at the center after a confidential caller reported wrongdoings in November of 2012.

Though officials could not confirm there are a higher number of surgical complications at the facility, they could confirm many of an anonymous tipster's claims, including insufficient staffing causing a delay in surgeries and overtime costs. Rep. Wilson, who has performed visits to the center, says he feels confident about the report.

"I'm very pleased that based on citizens being in touch with their office that the office of Inspector General did provide a report yesterday," said Wilson. "They verified, sadly, many of the
concerns that we had forwarded and the key thing is understaffing."

From the findings, the office issued 12 recommendations for the medical center to follow in order to meet standards. Many of those revolve around holding staff members more accountable, which Wilson says is an issue.

"The Department of Veteran's Affairs is unique in the federal government; it's actually funded in advance," said Wilson. "This is not a funding problem, this is truly a problem of the personnel, the administration, that I think have failed."

According to the report, most of the recommendations have passed their expected completion dates, but a few remain and are required to be met by March 31st.

"I believe the vacancies will be filled right away, there should be every effort to have proper staffing of medical personnel -- doctors and nurses -- and we can restore the Dorn VA Medical Center  to what it should be, and that is providing world-class care," said Wilson.

Wilson credits the caller for bringing the issue to light and says a second piece to this puzzle is ensuring the whistleblower doesn't face any repercussions for confiding in the office.

News19 reached out to the Dorn VA Medical Center for comment, who said they would be in touch, but have not responded as of Friday evening.

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