CONCORD, N.H. — One of the doctors behind a whistleblower complaint about care at New Hampshire’s only veterans’ hospital announced on Wednesday that he is running for Congress in the 2018 race.
Dr. Stewart Levenson said he will seek the Republican nomination for the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers the western and northern parts of the state, plus Concord and Nashua.
Levenson, 60, of Hopkinton, was chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center when he and a group of doctors highlighted allegations of substandard conditions and treatment in a Boston Globe report published in July.
The Democratic incumbent, Annie Kuster, is in her third term. Republican Jack Flanagan, a former state representative, is making a second bid for the seat.
Levenson said that President Donald Trump has shown that when political outsiders are elected to office, they are able to make tough decisions that partisan politicians won’t make.
He told the Concord Monitor (http://bit.ly/2yJ5ODO) that he first approached Kuster before going to the Globe. He said she initially said the hospital wasn’t in her district, and then said some of her constituents went to the VA and suggested that an anonymous letter be written to the Office of Inspector General.
After the report was published, Kuster, a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affair, said she met with VA doctors last year about the allegations and brought the concerns to the Office of the Inspector General for further investigation. Last month, she held a subcommittee field hearing on the hospital.
A spokesman for Kuster declined to comment Thursday on Levenson’s entry into the race.
In response to the Globe report, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin immediately removed three top officials and ordered an investigation. Shulkin visited the hospital in August, and said a task force would explore bringing a full-service hospital for veterans to New Hampshire, teaming up with other hospitals in the state or forming a public-private partnership to improve care.