2 New Hampshire VA hospital officials ousted hours after Boston Globe publishes investigative report on safety issues

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, on Sunday ordered the removal of the top two officials at Manchester (N.H.) VA Medical Center and called for a thorough investigation of the facility, reports The Boston Globe.

Dr. Shulkin's orders came just a few hours after The Globe published a Spotlight Team report highlighting serious patient safety and clinical quality issues at the hospital. The article said 11 physicians and medical staffers at Manchester VA Medical Center contacted a federal whistle-blower agency, along with The Globe, to voice their concerns. The staffers cited an operating room infested with flies and obsolete or unsterile surgical instruments as just a few of the safety issues at the hospital.

Dr. Shulkin removed Manchester VA Hospital Director Danielle Ocker and Chief of Staff James Schlosser, MD, pending the outcome of a top-down investigation of the VA facility. Ms. Ocker and Mr. Schlosser are still VA employees and will take over other duties, a VA spokesman told The Globe.

Alfred Montoya, the current director at the White River Junction (Vt.) VA, replaced Ms. Ocker as hospital director. Dr. Shulkin said Dr. Schlosser's replacement will be named soon, according to the report.

"These are serious allegations and we want our veterans and our staff to have confidence in the care we're providing," Dr. Shulkin said in a written statement cited by The Globe. "I have been clear about the importance of transparency, accountability, and rapidly fixing any and all problems brought to our attention, and we will do so immediately with these allegations."

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