Congressional delegation questions accountability efforts at Dor - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Congressional delegation questions accountability efforts at Dorn VA

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman and others met with Dorn VA Medical Center administrators on Monday in advance of a hearing to be held in Washington DC over issues of delayed care.

Rep. Jeff Miller questioned why no one had been held accountable for the backlog and what was being done to restore surgical services.

"Somebody should be held responsible for the egregious backlog that was created not overnight, but over a number of years here at this facility that has unfortunately caused the death of veterans and great grief for those families," said Miller.

But from what was discussed behind closed doors, Dorn administrators pointed to their chief of staff for the GI backlog. Still, they couldn't explain why certain decisions were made, prompting questions from Miller about the money given to fix the problem even as the backlog grew. Dorn administrators said the entire amount went to correct the problem.

"I have asked for a complete breakdown of how that money was spent because what [the Office of Inspector General] said that there was no tracking mechanism and they weren't able to tell where that money was spent," said Miller.

Miller also asked about the surgical suite, which was reopened on Dec. 30 and closed just days later on Jan. 2 when more particulate matter was found inside the supposedly sterile environment.

"We received a commitment from them in there a few minutes ago that basically says these operating rooms will not be open, veterans will not be exposed to any particulate matter, and nor should they until its 100 percent resolved," said Miller.

While engineers continue to investigate, members of the delegation say Congress has always met the VA's needs whether it's been through personnel or equipment, which is why they asked about staffing at Dorn.

"They were very specific in adding the number of personnel and then they were equally specific because we asked, 'Well, if you added 41, how many did you lose in between?' And they were very candid, but they came back that real positive efforts were being achieved," said Rep. Joe Wilson.

We asked to speak with administrators from Dorn VA Medical Center, we were told at this time they would not comment, however they told us they would invite us back at a later date for an open house.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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