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Tillis & Burr Respond To IG Report On Fayetteville VA Medical Center Surgical Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) issued statements in response to the release of an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report detailing healthcare inspections of the surgical services at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center.

The OIG report substantiated that:

·       Some VA patients were not properly evaluated prior to surgery, causing surgical delays and cancellations.

·       Prior to September 2014, patient deaths that occurred within 30 days of surgery were not reviewed as required, and peer reviews were not conducted as required by Veterans Health Administration and facility policy.

·       A gynecological procedure was stopped after surgery had begun because of a lack of instruments. The patient subsequently underwent the surgical procedure at a non-VA hospital.

The OIG also made a series of recommendations for the Fayetteville VA to correct longstanding issues, including implementing procedures to ensure patients are adequately evaluated by medicine and anesthesia providers prior to surgery, ensuring that peer reviews are conducted as required when criteria are met, and establishing procedures to ensure functioning surgical supplies, equipment, and instruments are available.

In response to the OIG report, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) issued the following statements:

“I have reviewed the report of the VA Inspector General regarding the surgical services at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center. While changes in senior staff have led to an improvement in some patient services, it is still disturbing to me that the Inspector General had to remind the Fayetteville VA that it must ensure patients are adequately evaluated by medicine and anesthesia providers prior to surgery, and that necessary surgical tools are available for the surgery,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “Taking care of those who bore the battle is the most solemn duty of the United States government and it is troubling that any hospital has to be reminded to have adequate pre-operative evaluations and sufficient equipment on hand to perform surgeries.  It should not take an outside agency to remind any caregiver of those basic medical practices.”

“Today’s report confirms the sad news that many of our veterans are still receiving inadequate care at VA facilities. Some patient deaths that occurred within 30 days of surgery at the Fayetteville VA facility were not reported or reviewed as required. Some veterans were not fully evaluated prior to surgery causing preventable delays and cancelations. Another procedure was stopped after surgery had begun because of a lack of instruments. That surgery was later completed at a community hospital,” said Senator Richard Burr. “Veterans must have greater access to quality health care where they live, when they need it.  Today’s report affirms once again that many VA facilities still fall woefully short. This is unacceptable.  Our nation’s veterans expect and deserve better than this—that’s why I introduced the Veterans Choice Improvement Act and why I’m going to keep fighting to enact it.  We have a duty to support and protect our veterans, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to ensure that our veterans are being taken care of.”

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