Officials ousted in NH, but still with VA | New Hampshire
All Sections

Home | Health

Officials ousted in NH, but still with VA

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 08. 2017 11:36PM
The top three officials who were removed from their jobs at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center over the past three weeks continue to pocket a VA paycheck, and two have been reassigned to jobs in the system, the VA acknowledged this week. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



MANCHESTER — The top three officials who were removed from their jobs at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center over the past three weeks continue to pocket a VA paycheck, and two have been reassigned to jobs in the system, the VA acknowledged this week.

The third, Director of Nursing Services Carol Williams, is on paid leave from her $176,900-a-year job and will retire after the brief leave, the VA said Tuesday in response to a series of questions.

Williams, who drew the scorn of whistleblower doctors and some veterans after she escaped a first round of firings, has been with the VA for 37 years.

The other two have been “detailed” to jobs with the VA New England Healthcare System network office, which is in Bedford, Mass., the VA said.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all they would just sort of shuffle them into something else,” said Dr. Ed Kois, head of the Manchester VA spinal cord clinic and one of the whistleblowers. “What’s important to me is they’re no longer involved with the health care of the veterans of New Hampshire.”

The two — Manchester VA director Danielle Ocker and medical director Dr. James Schlosser — lost their positions on July 16. That day, the Boston Globe Spotlight team reported about “Third World” outcomes for patients with spinal ailments, a fly infestation in an operating room, unsanitary operating equipment and problems veterans face getting outside care through Veterans Choice.

Ocker now works for the network director of the VA New England Healthcare System, the VA said. She has been with the VA for 32 years and continues to receive her salary of $147,436.

Schlosser works for the VA Healthcare System’s chief medical officer. The 16-year employee pulls down a salary of $255,647.

“We have not found that there is anything wrong that they have done,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement distributed last week by the Manchester VA. “These are good, dedicated professionals that have tried to help veterans, but there are times in an organization that you do need a new leadership team.”

Shulkin said he had directed regional administrators to undertake a national search to fill the three vacant positions.

Kois said the three ran the Manchester VA with Associate Director Kevin Forrest, who he said is still at the hospital.

Whistleblowers have said the Manchester facility suffered from too much bureaucracy and red tape.

Kois and fellow doctors hope to meet with New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan next week to discuss their vision for a new Manchester VA hospital, he said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


Health Politics Manchester

FOLLOW US
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required