New investigation reveals VA put veterans in 'imminent danger'

According to the VA, 94 percent of veterans are scheduled for care no later than 30 days after the requested date.

The website is created to increase transparency and care quality of the VA, which has been rocked by controversy for the way it handles wait times and patient records.

The full investigation will determine whether patient harm resulted from any of the shortcomings, the report stated.

The inspector general rarely issues such preliminary findings.

In June 2016, the medical center used expired equipment during a surgery, which occurred because there was no inventory management system in place. Before this, he said, people could not find out what was going on at VA hospitals the same way they can look at data from the health department on other hospitals in their area.

New VA Secretary David Shulkin told USA TODAY earlier this week that he welcomes outside oversight with hopes it will help him fix the beleaguered agency. "If appropriate, additional disciplinary actions will be taken in accordance with the law".

Among the serious safety lapses uncovered by the Inspector General included a lack of a system to ensure supplies and equipment subject to safety recalls were not used on patients; 18 of 25 sterile satellite storage areas for supplies were dirty; and no effective inventory system for managing medical equipment availability.

While Logistics personnel from the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) and another facility were onsite when the OIG arrived at the facility on March 29, significant equipment and supply shortages continued, placing patients at risk.

The VA announced Wednesday in response to the report that it is demoting the hospital's director, Brian Hawkins, who has served in the position since 2011.

The interim report identified nearly 200 instances in which equipment shortages may have affected patient safety.

Riley-Topping said one potential flaw is that the new tool uses data from the VA, which has not had a good record of maintaining its own data in the past.

Beleaguered is a proper way to describe the VA, which has had one too many scandals in recent years.

"The VA did the right thing by relieving the D.C. director from his position, but he's still being paid by taxpayers and under current law it will be very hard to terminate him", said Dan Caldwell, policy director for CVA, in a statement.

He discovered many veterans faced long wait times for appointments at the VA.

You can read the preliminary OIG report on the VA facility in Washington D.C. "The House Veterans' Affairs Committee must conduct oversight on this critical issue without delay".

  • Lila Blake