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Congressman Diane Black

Representing the 6th District of Tennessee

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Rep. Black Statement on Murfreesboro VA Developments

May 28, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC– Today, Congressman Diane Black released the following statement after the Tennessee Valley VA released a message announcing plans to improve services to veterans following her call for a federal investigation of its Murfreesboro facility:

“It is curious that, days after my colleagues and I called for an Inspector General report on its Murfreesboro hospital, the VA finally announced a timeline of plans to improve services to veterans,” said Congressman Diane Black. “It should not have taken a Congressional request for a federal investigation to get the VA to act on behalf of our nation’s heroes. While we certainty welcome the promise of these forthcoming improvements, many unanswered questions remain. For example, the VA has yet to confirm or deny the reports I received that the Murfreesboro hospital’s intern agreement was not renewed, or that the facility was once left without a physician on the premises. What’s more, today’s update from the VA still does not indicate when a 24-hour emergency room will once again be fully operational, or why, when the hospital made a decision to close its emergency room, it did not take the simple step of issuing a news release so that area veterans would be informed of the changes. We will press forward with our calls for a full report from the Office of Inspector General so that we can ensure these mistakes are not repeated.”

Background:
On Thursday, May 21st Congressman Black sent a letter alongside Congressmen Marsha Blackburn, Scott DesJarlais, Chuck Fleischmann, and Phil Roe to VA Secretary Robert McDonald asking for an independent investigation of the Murfreesboro VA hospital. The letter came after multiple sources reported to Congressman Black’s office that the facility was not admitting new hospital patients, that the hospital was once left without a physician to staff the premises, and that the hospital’s intern arrangement with Meharry Medical College was not renewed, leaving the facility short staffed. The reports further stated that the emergency room in Murfreesboro is closed and now functions as an urgent care center that closes at 8:00 PM daily – a claim that the Murfreesboro VA has since admitted as fact.

Today, the VA’s Tennessee Valley Health System Director, Juan Morales, released a message to staff stating that “Beginning June 1, the acute care medical unit (1A) will reopen 25 beds to acute medicine patients. This will progressively take place as the current sub-acute patients are discharged or transferred . . . By June 30, 2015, the progression of phasing in the ICU beds and Urgent Care Center to ED transition will be assessed for implementation.”

The message does not state when or if a 24-hour emergency room would be fully operational.

Resources:
Original Press Release: Rep. Black Demands Answers on Patient Care at Murfreesboro VA; Leads Letter Calling for Independent Investigation
The Tennessean: TN Lawmakers Seek Murfreesboro VA Probe
VIDEO: Fox 17 Reports on Rep. Black’s Letter Demanding an Investigation of Murfreesboro VA Hospital

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Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees

 

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