VA cites substandard Tenn. facilities

Associated Press • Mar 26, 2007 at 12:45 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A new report found "substandard cleanliness conditions" at veterans' facilities in Nashville and Murfreesboro.

The Department of Veterans Affairs released last week an internal investigation into its 1,400 health clinics and hospitals nationwide, the first major review conducted since the disclosure of squalid conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

At the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, the therapy pool has been closed to patients since February 2005 because the building is unsafe to enter. Veterans in need of warm-water therapy have been sent to private rehabilitation facilities.

The dialysis unit at the Nashville VA Medical Center has cracked floors, leaky plumbing and other infrastructure problems, the report found.

The Tennessee Valley Healthcare System serves about 80,000 patients in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky.

Both facilities are in need of fresh coats of paint, new carpets, new waiting room furniture and other upgrades.

The national survey concluded that most of the maintenance problems at the country's VA facilities were the result of "normal wear and tear."

"We, like the rest of the VA, have some minor wear and tear issues ... fortunately, most of these problems are a fairly easy fix," said Chris Alexander, spokesman for the VA's Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. "Our emphasis has been and is on providing the best patient care."

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