West Palm Beach VA Medical Center: Unveiling the Reasons Behind its Low CMS Rating

West Palm Beach VA Medical Center: Unveiling the Reasons Behind its Low CMS Rating

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Veteran Affairs Medical Center in West Palm Beach received a quality of care rating of one out of five stars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

CBS12 News spoke to patients and representatives of the West Palm Beach Veteran Affairs Medical Center on Tuesday to understand why they believe the center received such a low rating. The reactions were all filled with surprise.

Cynthia Boston-Thompson, President of the Department of Veteran Affairs, expressed concern over nurses struggling due to staffing shortages. She mentioned the emotional aspect of this situation and the ongoing fight by the Union but also conveyed a feeling that employees’ concerns were being overlooked.

Union members and congressional representatives addressed the center’s employees on Wednesday night. Employees were quick to point out that they were well aware of the reasons behind the one-star rating.

Congressman Brian Mast addressed the issue, encouraging employees to communicate the factors leading to the poor rating. An employee, speaking from personal experience with veterans, explained that a significant number of nurses were leaving the VA due to low pay. This employee also noted that nurses were departing for other VA centers in nearby cities.

The local VA hospital serves approximately 60,000 veterans in the area. Despite the low rating for quality of care, some aspects of the survey, such as patient satisfaction, received a higher rating of three out of five.

However, employees expressed ongoing concerns about staff attrition and resulting issues. They questioned why staff were leaving for other VA centers and suggested that toxic work conditions were a key factor. Complaints about patient safety and difficult work conditions were mentioned, along with difficulties in arranging meetings with the director.

Employees voiced frustration with the remote HR department, which caused delays and obstacles in communication.

In response, representatives were brainstorming solutions to these problems, with priorities set as the first step. The discussion even included the possibility of cutting costs from the HR budget to fund improvements or pay raises.

The union’s response involved plans to reintegrate congressional offices into the VA as a primary step. Union members indicated they would take some time to process requests and then present them to congressional representatives for further action.

It’s evident that this issue will continue to be a topic of discussion in the future.

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