Reopening Spokane VA Emergency Room for 24-7 service at risk - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Reopening Spokane VA Emergency Room for 24-7 service at risk

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Reopening Spokane VA Emergency Room for 24-7 service at risk Reopening Spokane VA Emergency Room for 24-7 service at risk
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Veterans Health Administration says getting the Spokane VA's Emergency Room back open 24-7 may not happen for a few more months.

The Mann-Grandstaff VA cut its emergency room hours in half on December 1.

The medical center says the ER is only open from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily because of staffing and recruiting issues.

Veterans who need care outside of those hours would need to go to another hospital, then notify the VA within three days of treatment to possibly be reimbursed.

On December 5, Navy veteran Bill Cropper's staff infection was acting up. He tried to go to the VA ER at 9:45 p.m., but it was closed. Cropper was instructed to go to another hospital.

"She told me to go to the nearest ER, which I did. I followed the instructions of the nurse, so I went to the ER at Sacred Heart," said Cropper.

Cropper was supposed to let the VA know he was at a different hospital within 72 hours, but he says he wasn't healthy enough to make that call.

"They call me the fifth day I was in the hospital. I was there for six days total. They told me if i didn't come to the VA, they weren't going to pay for it and I said I'm not going to get up in the middle of my treatments to come to the VA hospital. I've got one more day. I'm not going to do that," said Cropper.

Now Cropper is stuck with a $15,000 bill. He reached out to Senator Patty Murray to see if the VA ER will ever reopen for 24 hour service.

"I have to tell you, as the daughter of a World War II veteran, this is unacceptable to me. It is a very serious problem for veterans in that area, and we've got to get it back to full-time operation," said Murray.

Now, it's not guaranteed the VA ER will reopen for 24 hour service by April.

"We have had significant recruiting problems. We had originally hoped to open it to 24/7 in April, and it's now looking like that's going to be pushed back a few months," said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Interim Under Secretary for Health.

"It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. These men deserve better than that," said Cropper.

For more information on the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center click here: www.spokane.va.gov

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