VA OIG Mississippi

Wish I Was In Dixie… Hooray? Mississippi Outpatient Clinics Deficient “Environments Of Care”

According to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Mississippi’s satellite outpatient clinics of the Jackson VA Medical Center need a few “corrective measures.” This is nothing new to us; if you have been following our recent posts, particularly about the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., you know that environments of care (EOC) leave a lot to be desired.

First, I should list the things that these Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) are doing well. The OIG did unannounced inspections of seven Mississippi CBOCs and did NOT find issues with the following aspects of care:

  • General privacy requirements
  • Availability of relevant medical equipment and supplies

That is a nonzero amount of adequate care… but that was it. That list is a little thin.

Here are the other aspects of care, the ones within which OIG found “deficiencies”:

  • General safety (GS)
  • Medicine safety and security (MSS)
  • Infection prevention (IP)
  • Information technology (IT)

The OIG inspection teams clarified that these CBOC establishments have not put patients or staff “at risk” per se, but corrective measures must now be implemented. OIG has given these facilities until September 30th of this year to correct their shortcomings and ensure compliance with contract.

The biggest problems that plague these locations, stripped of their VA jargon, are the following:

  • There are not enough on-site defibrillators.
  • Fire extinguishers are not easy to see, and there are not enough signs pointing to them.
  • Exits are blocked by things like supply carts, impeding patients’ escape from potential fires.
  • Medicines are unsecured; most notably, two EpiPens® were found lying around in plain view.
  • Medicine is expired, and containers are sometimes left open.
  • The carpets and furnishings are damaged or soiled.
  • The hard flooring in patient care areas is dusty or dirty.
  • Sharps containers and biowaste are not properly secured.
  • IT network rooms are unsecured, leaving patients’ information at increased risk.

It should be noted that no single facility has each of these problems. At the same time, not one of the seven CBOCs escaped their surprise inspections unscathed.

RELATED: VA Still Not Hiring Enough Doctors Says IG

These CBOCs are located in the cities of Columbus, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Kosciusko, McComb, Meridian, and Natchez. They are scattered throughout the southern portion of Mississippi, each within about 100 miles of the flagship VA Medical Center in Jackson.

About the only thing I can say is, our nation’s capital has even more severe VA-related problems than this. So, congratulations to Mississippi. You are officially not the worst at something.


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  1. Sounds like Ft Wayne. I told them I needed a refill on my medication for pain and did it in plenty of time for them to refill it. And the new PCP they have for the Pack Team B, decided to take from July 24th (when they were suppose to have it refilled and sent to my no later then the 28th) till …. AUG 14th to fill my prescription and I just received it today on the 18th! Meaning I have been out of my pain medication for close to 3 fking weeks!!! And the new doc does not seem to care! Want to bet he will as I called Regional and VISN 11 and filed a complaint, and come monday I will be filing a complaint against the doctor and the hospital with Washington DC. Seems the phone number that the previous VA sec plastered all over the internet still works.

  2. The Black Hills VA satellite in Scottsbluff, NE that I use now doesn’t have any of those problems that I can see. Appointment times are prompt meaning there are sufficient medical and other staff.

    But it is an Accountable Care Contract Clinic. Run by a private medical corporation with physicians and mental health professionals that have also gone through VA staff intake training. The psychologist that I’m seeing was offered two positions. The Scottsbluff Clinic and a clinic in American Samoa. Both Accountable Care Contractors.

    Happy to see that and hope it spreads. I think all veterans that experience it will be pleased with the system. No union so staff is much more responsive. Regular surveys about your appointments so weighing in has an affect on bonuses. Patient satisfaction and outcomes are the basis for their bonuses.

    The only negative I have seen is the Black Hills Staff that travels to the Clinic once a week to do a PTSD cognitive therapy group. I think whoever is pushing the quick fix is off base. The group I tried started with 8. There were still 8 the second week but 4 had left and there were 4 new patients. The third week I was kicked out with one other patient putting the left attending down to 3 meaning out of 12 patients the therapist only retained 3 patients by the 3rd week. Not a good showing for a 6 week program.

  3. OK, these facilities have “…until September 30th to correct their deficiencies!” What happens then? Anything?

  4. 08/18/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    You had stated, “So, congratulations to Mississippi. You are officially not the worst at something.”

    It sounds to me that Management has finally gotten the message [at least in Mississippi] and Management had cleaned-up their act—sure there are problems here and there.

    But I would be very concern on other issues that are not being discussed like the re-admittance rate; the delay times for seeing the doctor; and ability to diagnose the real cause of the illness in a timely manner—and provide the proper care.

    Security around the clinic is another issue—Information. Medicine, Personnel, external threats, internal threats, “the Goon Squads”, over the Top Management, Hacking, Missing Equipment, Missing Supplies, embezzlements, Miss use of property and the building, the miss use of time.

    We are still in the beginning stages of handling the Opioid Crisis and the other out of control medicines.

    Management still has to be able to Perform and respond to demands from the Taxpayers/Public/Congress with adequate facts at the ready.

    We are not out of the woods yet!


    Don Karg

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