Webb calls for examination of Hampton VA



For the last 21 years he's worked at the Hampton VA where he says he hasn't been feeling the love. "If I want to go and see my doctor it's like making an appointment to go see President Obama," he continued. "You got the nurses they're real nasty treat you bad."

In an interview with WAVY.com, Senator Jim Webb said in the last two-and-a-half years, he's received 150 complaints about the Hampton VA. Those complaints prompted him to call on the US Department of Veterans Affairs to examine the quality of patient services.

"We need to get the attention of the people at the very top of the VA and have them come down and do a thorough scrub of the
facility," said Senator Webb.

In a statement issued to WAVY.com, Director DeAnne Seekins said, "Our quality measurements rank us 5th out of 34 Level 2
VA medical centers around the country [and] ...Our Customer Satisfaction scores continue to climb."

Robinson disagrees saying, "I see a veteran so angry that he cried he said this is what I served my country for."

On Thursday, President Obama signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act.

"With this legislation, we are fundamentally reforming how we fund health care for our veterans," said President Obama.

Robinson hopes change in Washington will lead to reform in Hampton. "I want to tell him, 'good work Senator Webb, continue to do the good work.'"

Senator Webb cited the 149 complaints his office had received since 2007 from Virginians, critical media reports on the Hampton facility and two VA Inspector General investigations revealing that the medical center had failed to comply with a number of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) policies and guidelines.

"I am aware that the vast majority of the staff at the center is dedicated, hardworking and committed to veterans healthcare," Webb wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. "Nevertheless, the allegations, news stories and GAO reports, when taken collectively, are a source of great concern."

Webb's letter follows the release last month of a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General on an incident in November, 2008 , where an Emergency Department (ED) physician at the VA Medical Center in Hampton misdiagnosed a probable stroke victim. The contract of the ED physician involved in the incident was not renewed.

The full text of Senator Webb's letter is below:

October 19, 2009
The Honorable Eric Shinseki
Secretary
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

I am writing to convey my continued concern about the quality of healthcare services being provided patients at the Hampton Veteran Medical Center (VMC) in Hampton, Virginia.

Since January 2007, my staff has received 149 complaints about the Hampton VMC from patients or their spouses. The allegations range from abusive patient treatment to wrongful death. In addition, a number of news reports have raised serious concerns with the level of care provided at the Hampton VMC.

According to a Combined Assessment Program (CAP) Review of the Hampton VMC conducted by the VAs Inspector General last year (Report Number 08-00916-204, 9/15/2008), this medical center failed to comply with a number of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) policies and guidelines.

This IG report also detailed unsatisfactory results of the Hampton VMC Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP) that captures patient perceptions of care in 12 service areas: The medical centers inpatient and outpatient overall SHEP scores for FY 2007 and the 1st quarter of FY 2008 did not meet established targets and were lower than national and VISN scores.

Another IG investigation of the Hampton VMC conducted last month (Report Number 09-02307-220, 9/18/2009) confirmed a patients accusation of a serious misdiagnosis by an attending doctor in the medical centers Emergency Department (ED): We substantiated the allegation that the treating physician did not conduct an adequate work-up of the patients stroke symptoms.. The report added that, ..the ED physician improperly copied and pasted laboratory results from a patient hed seen earlier in the ED into the medical record of the complainant.

I am aware that the vast majority of the staff at the center is dedicated, hardworking and committed to veterans healthcare. Nevertheless, the allegations, news stories and GAO reports, when taken collectively, are a source of great concern.

Therefore, I request a thorough examination
of the Hampton VMC be conducted; that any deficiencies subsequently detected be corrected so as not to recur; and that I be informed of the results.

Sincerely,

Jim Webb
United States Senator


Hampton VA Medical Center response:


“We appreciate the opportunity to address the Senator’s concerns. Quality of care is our primary concern. Our doctors, nurses and staff work hard to provide the best care possible.

In the last two years, we have received numerous inspections. During this period, Hampton VAMC received full Joint Commission accreditation with no patient safety findings as well as full accreditation by the Office of the Inspector General. Our quality measurements rank us 5th out of 34 Level 2 VA medical centers around the country.

Going beyond the quality of care -- our Customer Satisfaction scores continue to climb. The fact that we track and measure all complaints demonstrates our commitment to continuous improvement.

All of us at Hampton VA Medical Center take the concerns of all our Veterans very seriously, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure we provide the best quality care possible.”


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