Can congressional VA visit prompt improvements? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Congressional committee looking into VA Medical Center

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The VA Medical Center in Jackson is among the hospitals around the country undergoing intense scrutiny for its treatment of veterans. Congressional leaders are taking a look at the facility and measures being taken to make rectify problems.

Tuesday House Veteran's Affairs Committee Chairman Representative Jeff Miller and U.S. Representative Gregg Harper spoke with administrators at the G. V. Sonny Montgomery Medical Center.

Whistle blowers contacted The Office of Special Counsel, reporting poor sterilization procedures, understaffing and misdiagnoses at the hospital.

Miller said improvements are being made but there are still physician, specialists and staff shortages. The chairman said 70% of leadership at the Jackson VA has changed.

While some veterans have attended town meetings complaining of inadequate care at the Jackson VA, others sing their praises.

"I've been coming here about 14 years," said VA patient Aaron Penick. "I use silver clinic and use the urology clinic at times and I have no complaints whatsoever."

"What we don't want to do is to scare away veterans," said Representative Miller. "What we don't want to do is to scare away qualified physicians and nurses and other people that are support staff to come into this facility."

The committee chairman admits that Congress has little power to address problems at VA facilities. He said those decisions are left up to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and President Obama.

Miller said he sent a letter Tuesday to the president asking him to get involved in the VA crisis affecting centers across the country. 

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