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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Our vets deserve better

At least they're not in denial. Maybe that's a sign things will improve:

The Chief of Staff at the VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System has reviewed the Department of Veterans Affairs inspection of its hospital and it agrees with the findings.

"This was no surprise that at any point for us, meaning we're identifying these issues and working on these issues," said Dr. Ajay Dhawan, Fort Wayne's VA Hospital Chief of Staff.

The Office of Inspector General was called on by Senator Joe Donnelly and Congressman Marlin Stutzman to look into why the hospital suspended inpatient care late last year. Both Donnelly and Stutzman were surprised by the findings and found it "upsetting and inexcusable."

The inspection found a few critical issues that need to be fixed right away. Some of those issues includes the facility did not effectively and consistently fill upper and mid-level leadership positions. It also found that managers who were in place often did not provide necessary leadership. It also looked at the quality of care given to patients, which was found to be under par.

That "under par quality of care" sounds like the most serious one, although some of the other deficiencies (like lack of effective leadership) undoubtedly contributed to it. Bravo for Donnelly and Stuzman for getting the IG involved.

This brings back memories for me. My dad was a janitor at Parkview, and at some point he left there to do the same job at the VA hospital just down the street. I don't know why -- must have been better-paying. But he only lasted a few weeks (or maybe it was just a few days) before he quit and went back to Parkview. The only thing he said about the place, to me anyway, was that their standards were too low so the place was dirtier than he could stand.

Now all this time later, they still have trouble getting it together. "Upsetting and inexcusable" indeed.