CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland 19 series of reports on conditions at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center -- and how some veterans have been treated there -- are getting addressed.
The stories have even garnered attention in Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has addressed the issue with a bill that passed the house this week.
Kathy Morrison is a Navy veteran who has a torn meniscus in her knee.
“All I need is a little bit of help,” she said.
She came to Cleveland 19 for help after the VA would only approve a total knee replacement, so she got a private opinion saying the replacement wasn’t necessary.
She went back to the VA and appealed with no success: “They didn’t even see me and turned me down again, saying I still need a total knee replacement even though I don’t.”
Morrison’s confidential medical records prove a nurse, not a doctor, reviewed the case. A few days after our story aired she got a notice that she would be examined again for her problem. This time by a doctor.
Cleveland 19 also profiled filthy conditions in an emergency room at Stokes. A veteran was so disgusted that he shot this video on his cell phone.
Congresswoman Kaptur’s staff brought our reports to her attention. She found Stokes is 176 doctors short of where it needs to be. A staffing shortage she’s seen firsthand saying.
“There simply weren’t doctors there on call. Well, they were all working with someone else,” said Kaptur. “The Stokes VA is one of the biggest in the country and the demand on them is enormous."
Her bill creates a program to nurture young people interested in health careers, and groom them for employment at the VA. A three-year program at five VA hospitals to create a pipeline of talent that is currently missing.
Her goal is to establish one of the programs at Stokes.
“There is so much opportunity there to invest the future of care and healing,” said Kaptur.
The VA medical system is the largest in the world. There are currently 30,000 vacancies across the system.