Auditors begin review of Buffalo VA Hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Veteran hospitals across the country have come under fire recently, leading to a review of the entire system.

By order of the Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs, Eric Shinseki, auditors are being sent to VA hospitals across the nation. A spokeswoman for the Buffalo VA Medical Center tells News 4, a team of auditors arrived here on Friday.

She says the auditors’ review here will include “assessments of training, policy and systems.”

The nationwide review was prompted by repots of veterans dying while waiting for treatment at V-A hospitals in other parts of the country.

Whistleblowers say up to 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments at the VA medical facility in Phoenix. And that staff there falsified medical records to try to cover it up.

While there have not been any deaths of that kind reported here in Buffalo, staff at the VA Medical Center tell News 4 they have concerns with cleanliness and record-keeping. One man spoke to us anonymously a year ago; he recently told us, not much has changed since.

“Joe” said, “I think that a system of process improvement is lacking at the hospital. It’s too reactionary. There’s no – Nobody’s sitting there saying, ‘We’re going to make ourselves better, and we’re going to do this, this and this.’ It’s just like, ‘Oh my gosh! We’ve got this problem; let’s fix it.'”

In related news, we learned Friday afternoon that Robert Petzel, the VA’s undersecretary for health care, has resigned.

Both he and Secretary Shinseki were grilled in hearings before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs on Thursday.

Shinseki said he’s “mad as hell” over the deaths and alleged cover-ups, but also said he will not step down.

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