Veterans concerned about care provided at Salisbury VA hospital

SALISBURY, N.C. — A new Channel 9 investigation uncovered a 92 percent increase in disciplinary actions against employees at the Salisbury Veterans Affair hospital.

The long-standing medical center for veterans serves more than 287,000 veterans in 21 local counties. New numbers obtained in a 9 Investigation bring new questions about the care they receive.

From September 2015 to August 2016, there were 53 disciplinary actions against employees at the Salisbury V.A. hospital. Over the next year, through August 2017, there were 102 disciplinary actions against employees.

Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster spoke to several veterans who said the numbers are upsetting.

Foster went through all of the complaints in the two-year period, which include abuse of patients or beneficiaries, disrespectful or abusive language or conduct, deliberately failing or refusing to carry out instructions, sleeping on duty, which the VA said endangers others, violating privacy laws and more.

“I don't like it. I think they can do better, get better employees," Army veteran Ed Brim said.

Documents from the VA show consequences for those employee complaints range from a reprimand to suspension and removal.

"I've said they get a lot of false bad publicity on the VA, but now I'm deciding they need to get some," Army veteran Carl Wilson said.

Channel 9 reached out to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who sent this statement: "We will hold all our employees accountable and be transparent with our findings and actions as we continue to provide our Veterans with the highest quality service and care possible."

The veterans Foster spoke with said, overall, they are satisfied with the care they have received at the Salisbury facility.

In June, President Trump signed a law to give VA leadership more power to fire employees who break the rules. It also increases whistleblower protections.

During his campaign, Trump called the department the “most corrupt” and “most incompetently run agency in the United States.”

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