Another scathing report by the U.S. Office of Special Council on the VA hospital in the state capital Monday lands at the White House for the President's review. Monday, U.S. Congressman, Steven Palazzo, spoke with News 25 about what he plans to do to help offset veterans' health care concerns here on the Coast.
According to Monday's report, the Sonny Montgomery Veterans Affairs Hospital in Jackson is still plagued with problems. Among them are uncertified doctors, unsterile equipment, and unlawful prescriptions being written for narcotics. The Chief of Public Affairs at the Biloxi VA, Mary Kay Gominger, says they are worried about their partners up north. She says, "When one VA hurts, we all kind of feel the pain and want to do best by our veterans, so yes we are concerned."
Gominger also says that the Biloxi VA is performing well despite being short staffed and having an up to 90 day waiting list. She says, "People are checking on the different scheduling practices and going around and just making sure the employees are okay. You know, we've been catching a lot of grief and we just wanna’ make sure everything's good."
These new findings show that one out of four VA hospitals do not have a full time gynecology staff. Congressman Palazzo says that it's time for those hospitals to get out of the stone age and realize more women are becoming veterans. He says, "You have a lot of women serving in the military now, and the VA just needs to catch up with the times and make sure they're receiving the same amount of care and if the VA can’t do it, let the private sector to do it." The Biloxi VA has adopted a new policy to make sure they can accommodate all their patients.
Gominger says, "What we're doing as we're hiring new physicians, they are having certifications to be able to do all women's healthcare as well." Palazzo is holding two open forums in July to hear veterans' concerns. The Congressman hopes the July reports will be better than those that have come out of Jackson. Palazzo's forums will take place at the Hattiesburg V.F.W. on July 7th and in Biloxi on July 8th at the V.F.W. on Veterans Avenue from 9 to 11 a.m.