An internal investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs has found that one of its hospitals in Jackson, Miss., did not have enough doctors in its primary care unit, resulting in nurse practitioners’ handling far too many patients, numerous complaints about delayed care and repeated violations of federal rules on prescribing narcotics.
The investigation found no evidence that care had been compromised in the primary care unit, the vital first stop for many patients. But it concluded that there were enough problems “to suggest there may be quality of care issues that require further review,” a copy of the investigators’ report says.
Although the investigation focuses on one hospital, its findings have broader implications because the veterans department, along with many private hospitals, is moving to increase the use of nurse practitioners to reduce costs.
The problems at the Jackson veterans hospital, known as the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery Medical Center, will be among the topics discussed at a special field hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in Pittsburgh on Monday.
The hearing will review accusations of mismanagement at several hospitals, including an inadequate response to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Pittsburgh, the mishandling of mental health patients in Atlanta and the reuse of insulin pens in Buffalo that exposed patients to hepatitis. The panel members are expected to...