The Manchester VA Medical Center has appointed a 12-member task force to make recommendations on the future of New Hampshire’s only veterans hospital.
The appointments were the latest step toward reform since the Boston Globe reported in July on a whistleblower complaint, which described a fly-infested operating room, surgical instruments that weren’t always sterilized and patients whose conditions were ignored.
The task force includes Dr. Eric Funk, one of the physicians who filed the complaint, regional VA officials, and representatives from outside groups, including Stephen Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, and Michael D. McCarten of the New Hampshire Medical Society.
The plan is for final recommendations to be forwarded to VA Secretary David J. Shulkin by January. He first announced the task force when he visited the Manchester VA in early August.
The VA has already taken some steps. The VA said progress has included:
- approving recruitment of more than 50 positions in Manchester,
- hiring additional suicide prevention coordinators,
- overhauled the office managing the local "Veterans Choice" Program, which is a doubling of staff.
Gov. Chris Sununu also signed an executive order that allows VA physicians licensed in other states to practice in community hospitals in New Hampshire.
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