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VA Deploying Assessment Team to Marion Medical Center

Report To Supplement Ongoing Investigation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A multi-disciplinary assessment team will be sent to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Marion, Ill., Hospital to review recent allegations made by hospital employees relating to operations at the facility, the Department announced today.

The team will assess personnel practices and procedures at the facility; review issues related to equal employment opportunity; assess how well employees and managers are communicating; and evaluate how well the facility is implementing hiring processes and procedures.

"VA is committed to providing quality care to veterans," said Gordon H. Mansfield, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "We are also committed to ensuring all laws related to federal employees are fully enforced. The assessment team will make certain we are doing what's right for both veterans and VA employees."

The Assessment Team will include experts from human resources, employee and labor relations experts; a representative from VHA's National Center for Organizational Development; a representative from VA's Office of General Counsel; an environment of care expert; an Office of Resolution Management representative; and VA leaders and managers from other health care facilities. The team is expected to be on-site within one week and composed of seven to 10 members.

Team members will also assess the impact of issues that have already been raised at Marion on the manner in which care is delivered to veterans at the hospital, and will educate employees about issues they have raised concerning possible retaliation.

Upon completion of their review, team members will provide recommendations for improvements at the facility to Acting Secretary Mansfield. They will also suggest follow-up activities to ensure their recommendations are fully implemented.

VA began its review of issues at Marion as a result of a June 2007 statistical analysis by its National Surgical Quality Improvement Program which indicated higher levels of mortality than expected among patients at the facility over a six month time frame. As a result, VA's Office of the Medical Inspector conducted an on-site review of the facility to determine if community standards of care were met for certain patients who underwent surgery there between October 2005 and September 2007. This clinical review is ongoing.

VA's Office of the Inspector General is also conducting an investigation at the request of Department leadership, which includes, but is not limited to, a review of surgical care at the hospital over the last 12 months. The Inspector General's review of Marion's quality of care is also ongoing, and the office will carefully review all relevant information to include the assessment team's report to see if the information the team gathers will shed light or add additional information to the Inspector General's investigation.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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