New VA Secretary Praised Hospital Where 6 Vets Died After Screening Delays

The new secretary of Veterans Affairs praised a hospital in Columbia, S.C. as one of the top performing VAs in the U.S., though cancer screening delays at the facility were responsible for the deaths of six veterans.

Robert McDonald issued praise for the William Jennings Bryan Dorn Medical Center in a speech he gave Tuesday at the 96th annual American Legion convention.

“The result was seen in the stark difference between receiving care at, say, one of our highest performing locations, like the medical center not far from here in Columbia, S.C. – and until recently, at Phoenix,” said McDonald, who took over the agency’s top spot last month after the forced resignation of Gen. Eric Shinseki amid a scandal over delayed care.

“I think it’s important to note that last year, the Joint Commission — which accredits and certifies health care organizations — named the William Jennings Bryan Dorn Medical Center there…and 31 other VA hospitals…as ‘Top Performers’ in its annual review of patient care,” McDonald said, according to his prepared remarks.