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National VA Hospital Audit Hits Tennessee Facilities After Delayed Care in AZ -- Mikayla Lewis

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Nashville,  Tenn.--  Long waits are a common complaint at local Veteran's  Affairs Medical clinics, but there have been none compared to an Arizona facilities problems.

The VA says about 40 patients died allegedly as a result of delayed care in Phoenix. Veteran's Affairs says waiting lists were "doctored" in Phoenix and a secret list was also kept. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, Eric Shinseki ordered an audit of every VA medical facility in the country.

Jessica Schiefer, spokesperson with the Tennessee Valley Health Care System says,  "The purpose of this review is to ensure full understanding of VA's policy and continued integrity in managing patient access to care."

Mary Ross says,  deputy executive director of Operation Stand Down Middle Tennessee says , " I do understand that  there's now five facilities under investigation for very similar practices. I am fairly confident that they won't find that a Tennessee valley healthcare system, but I do think it's a good idea to do the audit and check."

Ross says there are less than 200 VA medical facilities in the country for more than 5 million veterans.

Ross says, "the VA system is overwhelmed."

This week , VA campuses in Nashville, Murfreesboro and Chattanooga  are in the process of the review by department staff. Auditors are not associated directly with the specific clinics.

Tennessee Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander wrote a letter to Shinseki urging a third party perform the audits  nationwide.

 

Senator Corker says, " We want the very best and not only do we want for people who have served in tennessee but people all over this nation that have helped make our country what it is today."

Ross says, " We're going to have to adjust one way or another. It's not just something you can put a Band-Aid on."

The VA says reviews will look at activities, records, wait times and training. The data collected will be combined into a report for Congress over the next several weeks. The VA says if there are any facilities found not following patient care policy, corrective action will be taken.

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