Dozens of surgeries at Denver VA hospital put off because of doctor shortage

Too few anesthesiologists and competitive market to blame, VA says

By David Migoya

A shortage of anesthesiologists at Denver’s veterans hospital – despite salary offers reaching as high as $400,000 a year – has forced a delay in dozens of surgeries just months after the institution was tagged with some of the nation’s worst waiting lists for care.

Though the hospital employs eight anesthesiologists and eight nurse anesthetists, they’re short of the complement needed to meet surgery demands that run about 380 operations a month, a spokeswoman said, noting some staff has left for other jobs as well as taken paternity and maternity leaves.

“Currently we have had approximately 65 to 90 nonemergent surgeries rescheduled or postponed due to a shortage of anesthesiology staff,” VA spokeswoman Kristen Schabert said. She offered no examples.

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