McMorris Rodgers Calls For Transparency Amid Rumors, Outages at Spokane VA

May 10, 2022
Press
Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today called for transparency at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane amid a growing number of concerns and rumors at the facility.

Since its launch, the Cerner electronic health record system has crashed more than 50 times, resulting in potentially dangerous and life-threatening consequences for patients. These outages are in addition to ongoing issues with the system causing pharmacy and prescription errors, records to be deleted from the system, and unexpected appointment cancellations and delays.

Additionally, rumors have swirled across the community in recent weeks about inpatient services offered at Mann-Grandstaff with many veterans and providers being led to believe that services were to be imminently reduced or eliminated. This lack of transparency from leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs has created frustration and confusion within the community.

In a letter to Medical Director Dr. Robert Fischer, Cathy addressed these issues and more.

On the rumor about reducing services at Mann-Grandstaff, Cathy wrote:
“It was great to hear from you that there are no immediate plans to close or reduce inpatient services at Mann-Grandstaff. Veterans are our nation’s heroes, and they deserve red carpet treatment with timely access to quality care. Mann-Grandstaff plays a critical role in providing that level of care to veterans in Eastern Washington, and it is imperative that the facility continues to offer a wide variety of much-needed inpatient and outpatient services for the men and women who have served our nation.”

On restoring 24-hour urgent care at the facility, she continued:
“Reopening 24/7 urgent care at Mann-Grandstaff must also remain a top priority. We are now five months past the initial target date that Secretary McDonough announced for the reopening of 24/7 urgent care. While I understand complications with COVID and the electronic health record (EHR) modernization impacted that timeline, the incessant delays further undermine veterans’ confidence that they will have access to care when and where they need it most.”

Finally, on the ongoing issues with the electronic health record system, she wrote:
“I continue to have serious concerns with delays in care and lost medical records due to complications with the EHR rollout. It was recently reported in the Spokesman Review that the system has been partly or completely down more than 50 times since it was launched. This has led to hundreds of impacts on patient care, with veterans experiencing unacceptable care delays for critically needed treatment. Veteran records have been deleted from the system, leading to lost prescriptions for crucial medications, appointment cancellations and delays, and other unacceptable lapses in veteran safety and care.

“These items, and continued complications due to the EHR—including a 45-minute outage during Secretary Remy’s visit to Mann-Grandstaff in April—highlight the need for the medical center to maintain staff, rather than pursue staffing cuts. While I understand there are no imminent plans to cut current staff, funding for positions that are vacated should be shifted to other departments, including urgent and inpatient care as needed, rather than being cut altogether.”

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

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