VA working on lingering problems at Phoenix hospital

Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 00:48:20-05

The top 30 managers at Phoenix's VA medical center hashed out lingering problems in a "working session" with the VA's deputy secretary Tuesday. 

Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson has taken a personal interest in assisting the Phoenix hospital as it recovers from a patient wait time scandal. 

"We're going to get a lot better here," Gibson said. "I got to tell you that every day I see the stability of this leadership team in place, I become more confident we're going to get there."

Gibson, who visited the hospital four times in four months, admits there are still trouble areas.

"We still got veterans on a wait lists," Gibson said.

Gibson also said the shortage of support staff makes doctors less efficient in their jobs. He also mentioned concerns of surgical instrument sterilization, after a system breakdown earlier this year. 

"We're using old standards that are 20 years old," Gibson said.

One group, Concerned Veterans for America, said top VA leaders have failed to make fundamental changes needed.  

"They have no incentive to provide the best care they can," CVA's Arizona Director Matt Dobson said. "Their incentive is to provide as little care as possible as cheap as possible to save money for the system."

Gibson plans to make a final visit to Phoenix next month.

"If someone wants me to stay, let me know," Gibson said, reflecting on the uncertainty over the who will head the VA when Donald Trump becomes president.