The Virgin Islands’ delegate to Congress said she learned over the weekend that the VA medical facility on the island of St. Thomas has been without a doctor for almost a month.
With a population over 50,000, St. Thomas is home to nearly half of the Virgin Islands’ population.
Right now, the Vet Center on the island just has a nurse practitioner on duty.
Del. Donna Christensen (D) contacted the Medical Director’s office at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was told that the doctor assigned to the post was out on extended leave.
“I was told they are preparing to advertise for another physician for that position,” said Christensen. “In the mean time, the VA have already arranged for doctors to be at the St. Thomas Vet Center for the last week of September and first two weeks of October.”
The delegate urged “all local, private physicians to accept VA fee basis patients referred to them during this crisis and encourage any local doctor who may be interested to apply.”
The Colmery O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka, Kansas, has faced a doctor shortage that left it unable to admit some patients and stripped its ability to offer trauma care in the ER.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that doctors are being offered shifts of seven days on, seven days off to lure them to the VA facility.