Robert Wilkie is just a few days into serving as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but there are plenty of problems waiting for him when he starts. He’s already received a letter from several employees at the VA’s medical facility in Washington, D.C., asking VA leadership to address serious concerns in their own backyard.
The employees stressed that the VA must “stop this coverup and incompetence, to really care and live up to America’s promise to its Heroes” claiming “enough is enough.”
The hospital has been struggling for years. It made national news early last year when the Office of Inspector General released an interim report while investigating problems at the facility. The OIG stated patients were put at “unnecessary risk” due to supply shortages and cleanliness concerns.
Once the report was completed, the OIG found serious problems with management and sterilization. They also found that multiple levels of VA leadership knew about the problems for years and failed to fix them.
The VA has long claimed that conditions are improving. But just recently, a top VA official pointed to “continuing deterioration in overall quality” at the hospital. That narrative is backed up by employees at the facility itself, who’ve called on Secretary Wilkie to help.
The D.C. VA facility should be among the best VA hospitals in the nation since it sits right in the VA headquarters’ backyard. But time and again the VA has ignored issues in this hospital, leaving veterans in the imminent danger the OIG warned about in its report last year.