- Associated Press - Monday, August 14, 2017

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Physicians from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manchester can temporarily treat patients at outside facilities, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday.

A burst pipe caused severe flooding at New Hampshire’s only VA hospital last month, just after the Boston Globe published allegations of substandard care and conditions. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin responded by removing three top officials, ordered an investigation and visited the hospital on Aug. 4. During that visit, he said a task force was being formed to explore bringing a full-service veterans hospital to New Hampshire, teaming up with other hospitals in the state or forming a public private partnership.

Catholic Medical Center last week agreed to allow VA providers to use their hospital to perform endoscopies and other same-day procedures while the flood damage is repaired. But under New Hampshire licensing requirements, doctors with out-of-state medical licenses can only practice at the VA hospital.

Sununu’s executive order temporarily lifts those requirements for about eight months so VA doctors can see patients at CMC and elsewhere.

“The state of New Hampshire is committed to delivering results for New Hampshire’s veterans,” said Sununu, a Republican. “This executive order provides for a continuum of services for our veterans, and we will stop at nothing to deliver the best care. Period.”

Al Montoya, the VA hospital’s acting director, said the order will result in greater access to care for veterans. Dr. Joseph Pepe, president and CEO of Catholic Medical Center, said his hospital is proud to step up for veterans.

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