New VA director addresses reduction of Opioids, wait times and past abuse

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – New Mountain Home VA Director Dean Borsos says the facility is doing great things, but says he’ll always strive to make things better for patients.

“When they walk out the door they should be fully taken care of and confident in the care that they’ve received,” he said.

The Air Force veteran, who started Monday, now becomes Mountain Home’s 15th director in its more than 115-year history.

At one time, Mountain Home had some of the longest patient wait times in the nation. Borsos says he wants to make sure the facility continues to improve access in a way that provides safe, quality care.

“They’re doing a really good job of improving access,” he said. “I think things can always be better and I’m always focusing on improvement and I will tell you access is one of my top priorities.”

In recent weeks, we’ve heard from dozens of veterans with chronic pain concerned about Mountain Home’s efforts to reduce or even eliminate their use of Opioids. The decision followed research and national recommendations that questioned the safety and effectiveness of the painkillers.

“This is all being done with patient safety in mind,” Borsos said. “If they have concerns about their healthcare, they should always talk to their doctor, their primary care team, their pain management team, whoever that is and let’s get the best possible care for them, whatever that best possible care may be.”

A nearly yearlong Community Watchdog investigation found a handful of cases of past abuse at Mountain Home and discipline that some argued wasn’t severe enough. The three employees involved kept their jobs.

“The bottom line is patients should never be abused,” he said. “While a staff member should never do anything that would abuse or hurt a patient, we also have to make sure we follow the right processes and procedures to train, educate and rehabilitate folks so that everybody has the opportunity to do better.”

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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