JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- Changes are coming following the results of an audit of a local Veteran’s Affairs medical center. The new audit details areas that need improvement while also highlighting some of the facility’s strengths.
According to a comprehensive review of the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, that’s done every 3 years, mental health treatment and suicide prevention are two areas where the medical center needs to improve. While the audit states that the VA failed to provide the recommended amount of suicide prevention community outreach programs, Acting Medical Center Director Dan Snyder told News Channel 11 that mental healthcare is a top priority.
Snyder said, “Our objective in mental health is to have same-day access.” “That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be seen the same day unless they absolutely need to see a doctor that day, but it means if they call or come in that we’re able to take care of their need that day,” he said.
The audit also shows that employees did not consistently document weekly inspections of resident rooms for contraband. Snyder said, “The room inspections were being completed; However, the (U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General) didn’t like the words that we put on the documentation so they recommended that we change how we document those.”
The audit also highlights certain areas where the medical home is excelling including wound care and patient safety. Snyder said, “Wound care is something that we’re especially proud of. I can’t remember the last time that we had the last hospital-acquired pressure ulcer in our facility so that’s something that we’re really proud of that you don’t find in other facilities.
While Veteran James Baker said he’s thankful the VA’s staff are attentive and caring, he hopes more suicide prevention outreach programs will be offered to veterans in the future.
Baker said, “Anybody that has served our country, have put their life down for us and there are a lot of people who haven’t come back home because of that.” “Now we’re losing people here on our land and it’s not because war is going on right now but it’s because they don’t know what to do … they’re asking for help.”
Snyder says the VA is already working to implement more outreach programs and says patients’ safety and health are always a top priority.
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