VA Medical Director gets into heated exchange during audit expla - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

VA Medical Director gets into heated exchange during audit explanation

Memphis' Veterans Affairs Hospital is among four facilities in Tennessee flagged for further review following a nationwide audit. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Memphis' Veterans Affairs Hospital is among four facilities in Tennessee flagged for further review following a nationwide audit. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(WMC) - Memphis' VA medical director walked out of a news conference when the Q & A segment got heated.

Medical director C. Diane Knight called the press conference to answer questions about why the Memphis VA Hospital was named in a nationwide audit.

The audit reviewed more than 700 VA hospitals around the country. Ultimately, it found the previous goal of scheduling appointments within 14 days was unattainable. It instead set a new goal of 30 days.

Knight said the Memphis location saw 97 percent of patients within 30 days, but admitted that more than patients did not meet the new goal. In fact, some of those patients had to wait as long as 90 days before seeing a doctor.

"Our new goal is 30 days regardless of whether they are new or established patients or in which section of care be it. Primary care specialty care or mental health that those patients are attempting to access," said Knight.

Knight says she does not know why Memphis was singled out by the national audit. She says employees answered 60 questions but don't know which ones caused concerns nationwide.

Department of Veterans Affairs laid out four new goals for VA hospitals around the country: 
1. Remove the 14 day scheduling goal.
2. Share the best practices at successful facilities and help incorporate them everywhere.
3. Hire additional staff
4. Modify local contract operation for specialty and primary care facilities.

The turmoil over VA problems nationwide came to light when it was revealed patients were dying waiting for appointments.

VA medical center Memphis also had problems documented last year with reports three patients died in the ER after getting inadequate care.

The hospital will meet Wednesday, June 11 to privately talk about the audit. They will then hold a town hall meeting where the public can express their concerns. That meeting is tentatively set for Thursday, June 12.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
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