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Salisbury VA director takes job in New Mexico

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Kaye Green is leaving her post as director of the Salisbury VA Health Care System at the end of May.

Green, who came to the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center in October 2012, said Friday she has taken a job at an unnamed hospital in New Mexico. The hospital will be closer to her family, she said in a news release.

She said family is the only reason she accepted the New Mexico position.

“Just as I felt called to Salisbury five years ago, my family and I now feel called to accept an opportunity to serve in a hospital much closer to our family in New Mexico,” she said.

Green said she is leaving “in good standing” and the Salisbury VA is in “excellent standing.”

In the news release, Green noted recent accomplishments at the Salisbury VA, including seamless activation of two of the VA’s largest new health care centers; a new mental health center of excellence; the VA’s first free-standing cardiac catheterization lab in Kernersville; robotic and joint replacement surgery; interventional nephrology; and numerous other clinical expansions and new services.

She said the Salisbury VA has made progress in access to care, including same-day services in primary care. Improvements currently underway include a new intensive care unit, clinical laboratory and parking garage and expanding the emergency department, which is currently being designed.

Under Green’s tenure, the system also has been the subject of scrutiny for patient care wait times. In 2016, for example, two federal investigations found that some patients died while awaiting care and that employees manipulated data to make it appear that appointments had been scheduled.

This year, an audit of the Mid-Atlantic Care Network found more wait time problems, this time with the Choice program. Salisbury VA patients waited an average of 25 days for specialty, primary and mental health care, but VA staff calculated the average to be 10 days, the audit found.

In response to the 2016 investigations, Green said two supervisors were either no longer in their positions or no longer worked at the facility. She said the hospital dedicated additional resources to training.

After the 2017 results, the Salisbury VA said it disagreed with auditors about the best method to calculate wait times.

In announcing her decision to leave, Green noted a recent internal quality-of-care rating that gave the Hefner VA Medical Center four out of five stars. The five-star rating system is intended to be a measure of how a facility is improving.

“Our staff is working hard to achieve five stars, which is the best of the best among VA health facilities, because we believe our veterans in North Carolina deserve the very best health care available,” Green said in the news release.

She said VA employees are of the highest caliber.

Green said she’s also been fortunate to work with supportive community partners.

“Please know that my husband, Dave, and I will forever hold Salisbury near and dear to our hearts and the people here will always be in our thoughts and prayers,” she said. “Thank you, and may God bless you.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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