Metro-East News

Bost demands changes at Southern Illinois VA hospital

In this BND file photo, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, speaks to veterans at VFW Post 4183 in Belleville on May 24, 2017.
In this BND file photo, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, speaks to veterans at VFW Post 4183 in Belleville on May 24, 2017. snagy@bnd.com

Chronic recruitment and employee retention are just two of the many concerns an Illinois congressman has about the Marion Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, and U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Michigan, wrote a public letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin that demanded changes to the Illinois hospital’s Human Resources department. Bergman is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; Bost is a member of the subcommittee.

The letter also expressed concerns about the qualifications of the chief of human resources.

“We’ve heard stories of grossly inconsistent salaries among staff, low morale, and a lack of proper training and discipline. Serious HR changes need to be made, and fast. Our veterans deserve better than this,” Bost said in a news release.

The VA, in an emailed reply to a Randolph County Herald Tribune request for comment, stated that the Marion hospital has been evaluated several times and has made personnel changes to follow recommendations by the VA.

Other concerns the congressmen wrote about in the letter to Secretary David Shulkin were staff concerns about “inconsistencies in pay scales and grade; a chronic confusion about processes for disciplining employee” and failing to track employee no-show rates and disciplinary actions.

The Marion VA responded that more than 260 employees were hired in 2017, including a new medical center director and chief of medicine.

“These key leaders add stability and direction to the growing team of VA health care professionals,” the email stated.

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