AMP News Health & Science

VA System Prepares for Town Hall on “Impaired” Pathologist

By Curtis Lanning

As thousands of veterans await word on whether they were misdiagnosed by an “impaired” pathologist, the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks is preparing to help answer questions at an upcoming town hall.

Chris Durney, public affairs officer for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, said the town hall will provide local veterans an update on all the cases that have been reviewed thus far and a full review of everything that’s happened since the hospital’s last news conference earlier in June.

Hospital officials said after learning of multiple missed diagnoses (and one possibly linked death), it fired an “impaired” pathologist in April, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Durney said an independent panel is looking into the cases of 19,000+ veterans. As of Friday, 1,683 cases had been reviewed. There’s no estimated time of completion for all cases to be examined, officials said.

“It’s gonna take a little while,” Durney said.

The town hall will be held at 11 a.m. in the building three auditorium of the Fayetteville hospital campus at 1100 N. College Ave., according to officials.

It’ll include advice for veterans on how they can get more information from the hospital and the opportunity for those attending to provide feedback, Durney said.

Beyond the town hall, Durney said the call center set up for veterans who have questions will remain in operation.

“The call center is going to be in place for quite a while,” Durney said.

Veterans with questions about their case are encouraged to call 479-582-7995.

The Arkansas Congressional Delegation has been invited to the town hall, but there’s no word yet if any will attend, according to Durney. The Arkansas State Medical Board, regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration and veteran service organizations have also been invited.

Durney said the event is open to veterans and their families.

“I don’t believe anyone from the public will be turned away,” he said.

As for what the hospital expects from attending veterans, Durney said, “I’m sure they’ll have many questions about whether they were reviewed in this case, what that means and what’s the next step. And of course that’ll be addressed.”

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