With five days to live, Dr. Sarah Kemble, chief of medicine for VA’s central and western Massachusetts region, completed a 23 page affidavit revealing substandard care, delays in patient care, mismanagement and more at the Northampton VA Medical Center in Western Massachusetts. She further explained, “substandard care means patient harm.”
Dr. Kemble’s affidavit is one of thirty complaints reported to VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection in the past eight months, according to Keven Rothstein and WCVB5 news.
It should come as no surprise that Dr. Kemble’s dying words contradict VA’s official message. Two years ago, the Director of the VA Central Western Massachusetts Health Care System, John P. Collins, touted lower or improving wait times, the exact opposite alleged by Kemble.
In 2015, Collins noted the hiring of Kemble as “the new director of primary care,” yet, Kemble’s affidavit spoke of retaliation against her as she attempted to address VA’s shortcomings. Relatedly, in November 2016, VA continued to tell the public things were improving. Citing VA data, Collins indicated VA has “improved access,” but that too doesn’t seem to square with Kemble’s concerns of delays in care.
Apparently VA is now investigating itself, which signals that the problem will be further concealed, there will be no accountability, and this story will fade from local headlines.