For Years the VA Department Knew About the Serious Conditions at D.C. Hospital
March 08, 2018 12 Commentson
The bill would lower the burden of proof needed to fire employees -- from a "preponderance" to "substantial evidence," allowing a dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker's favor.
The VA inspector general found that in recent weeks the operating room at the hospital ran out of vascular patches to seal blood vessels and ultrasound probes used to map blood flow.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ suicide crisis hotline is understaffed, poorly supervised and sometimes leaves veterans on hold so long that they simply hang up, according to an investigation released Monday.
"It was very upsetting," Stephen McMenamin said. He and his wife said they saw a handful of older veterans mistreated and ignored during the seven hours they were at the hospital, including an aged-veteran in a wheelchair.
Once the veteran died, hospice staff members made direct verbal requests to an individual described as the transporter for the body to be moved to the morgue. The transporter told them to follow proper procedures instead by contacting dispatchers. That request was never made, so those responsible for taking away the body never showed up. At first, the body was moved to a hallway in the hospice, then to a shower room, where it stayed, unattended, for more than nine hours.
Nearly 600 veterans who received care at the Tomah VA may have been infected with several types of disease due to violations in infection control procedures. VA administrators made the announcement Tuesday afternoon at a press conference. The Tomah VA says it's in the process of notifying 592 veterans that they may be infected with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV after they received care from one particular dental provider. Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm said the dentist was using his own equipment, then cleaning it and reusing it, which violates the VA's regulations.
The Veterans Affairs–scandal headlines speak for themselves. The Daily Beast: “Veteran Burned Himself Alive outside VA Clinic”; azfamily.com: “Dead veterans canceling their own appointments?”; New York Times: “Report Finds Sharp Increase in Veterans Denied V.A. Benefits,” “More than 125,000 U.S. veterans are being denied crucial mental health services,” and “Rubio, Miller ask committee to back VA accountability bills.” Two years ago this week [April, 2016]— thanks to courageous whistleblowers in Phoenix and a fed-up House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman — the world was finally exposed to rampant VA dysfunction and corruption. Dozens of veterans had died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA — which was, unfortunately, just the tip of the iceberg. Across the country, VA officials had manipulated lists to hide real health-care wait times. In total, thousands — and possibly far more — met the same fate: waiting, and dying, at the hands of a calcified and soulless bureaucracy. Investigations were launched, and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki eventually resigned.Rather than attempting to correct a wide array of serious problems--ranging from incompetence to corruption, the VA has instead and in defiance of a 2014 law "quietly" stopped sending performance data to a national database for consumers.
Veterans Affairs documents indicate officials at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital knew about the black mold infestation in August 2015 but conducted no testing until mid-April 2016 and have yet to clean up the problem – though they are promising to act soon. The mold is contained in two rooms of the Residential Care Facility (RCF), a separate building housing 30 residents for indefinite stays. “I was going by the hallway and the door was open. The back wall was all moldy black,” 81-year-old resident Raymond Shibek told FoxNews.com. “I went and told the director of nursing. She said, ‘How did you see that?’ I said, ‘The door was open.’ She said, ‘You weren’t supposed to see that.’” Shibek said the mold covered an entire wall measuring roughly 10 feet-by-10 feet.
“VA will actively and aggressively pursue disciplinary action on those who violate our values. There should be no doubt that when we discover evidence of wrongdoing, we will hold employees accountable,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said. The firings are a direct result of wrongdoing found by the VA’s Office of Inspector General and the Office of Accountability Review, including significant delays and wait times of veterans, manipulation of appointment data, “neglect of duty,” inappropriate handling of VA contracts and misconduct at VA facilities. The firings also follow a yearlong investigation by CNN that found numerous instances of delays in care and, at times, deaths of U.S. veterans at VA facilities across the country. The reports sparked a national outrage, which led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and prompted numerous House and Senate hearings. That resulted in a new law revising the VA health care system designed to help veterans get faster care. The new law, which was passed this summer and signed by President Obama, also gives VA Secretary Robert McDonald more authority to quickly fire top executives.
Yet he insists problems at the VA were unknown to him until recently....
"Detached, flat footed and incompetent."...
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