Columbia, SC (WLTX)- The Dorn VA Medical Center said they have hired additional staff members after six people died from delays in care.
The South Carolina Medical Endoscopy Center Director Stephen Lloyd has been practicing in Columbia for 35 years. He said more work still needs to be done.
The problems started in 2011 when sick veterans had to wait for screenings.
As a result, 280 patients were diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer and of those 52 were directly tied to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Six of them are dead.
"They don't have enough capacity to do a colonoscopy," Lloyd said. "They encourage them to have a less expensive test called an FOB test."
Lloyd said tests should have been done earlier to prevent deaths.
"It's really sad that they had to wait," Lloyd said.
Former Fort Jackson Commander Major General Abraham Turner, who runs Save Your Colon, a nonprofit organization, said something needs to be done.
"I'm very much concerned about the well being of those who have served this nation," Turner said.
Dr. Lloyd does note that the Dorn VA Medical Center has excellent staff and physicians. He is not concerned with the quality of care.
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs asked the VA Secretary questions about Rebecca Wiley, the former VA Director at the center in Columbia and Augusta.
Dorn VA released the following statement below:
The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing the best quality, safe and effective health care our Veterans have earned and deserve. We take seriously any issue that occurs at one of the more than 1,700 health care facilities across the country. The consult delay at Dorn VAMC has been resolved. Additional staff have been hired to meet the demand for services and consults are tracked daily to ensure timely care is provided.
As a result of the issue VA discovered at Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center (Dorn VAMC) in Columbia, South Carolina, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) conducted a national review of consults across the system and has developed processes and oversight mechanisms to prevent a similar occurrence at another VA medical center. VA concurred with the OIG's recommendation and implemented an action plan.
VHA leadership takes seriously any delay in consults and has taken specific steps to address these issues at Dorn VAMC. The consult delay at Dorn VAMC has been resolved; additional staff have been hired to meet the demand for services and consults are tracked daily to ensure timely care is provided. Fee based services with community providers have been authorized to assist in the care of this Veteran population as warranted by clinical staff. Dorn VAMC Quality Management has performed a careful retrospective case review. Staff recommended 55 cases for physician case review. Of these 55 cases, the internal physician reviews determined that 20 Veterans were adversely affected by delays in care. Institutional disclosure was recommended and has been completed for these cases. As a part of this review, it was determined that there have been a total of 6 deaths associated with the patients' underlying malignancy.