Interim Director At Tomah VA Hopes To Promote Change In Culture

Madison VA Associate Director Will Lead Hospital For At Least 3 Months

Maureen McCollum/WPR

The new acting director of a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in the western Wisconsin community of Tomah says opening communication and increasing accountability will help empower staff and improve morale at the embattled facility.

Madison VA Associate Director John Rohrer will be in Tomah for at least three months. He said he wants staff to be comfortable speaking up once again.

Some officials at the Tomah VA have come under fire for creating a culture of fear, as well as prescribing high levels of opiates. Rohrer said some accusations of ongoing retaliation will be looked into locally. A number of federal and state investigations into the facility are underway, and Rohrer said he welcomes the feedback.

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“Because they’re going to lay out a lot of the actions that we need to take. They’re going to say, ‘We need a report by X that you have looked into this.’ So, I look at every one of those as an opportunity to get to where we have to get,” he said.

Rohrer said he’s confident in the quality of care at the hospital. His father, a 93-year-old World War II veteran is receiving treatment there.