Paralyzed Veterans of America Responds to OIG Report Regarding Problems at DC VA Medical Center

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WASHINGTON, DC 3/8/18 —Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) released the following statement today from its Executive Director, Carl Blake, in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report about the problems at the Washington DC VA Medical Center.

“The just-released Inspector General’s report about the DC VA Medical Center (VAMC) reflects a failure at many levels to deliver on the promise of timely, quality health care for veterans who rely upon that facility. We applauded Secretary Shulkin’s actions nearly a year ago when he immediately addressed the failure of leadership at the DC VAMC, proving the importance of the Accountability Act passed last year. We appreciate the fact that the Secretary has remained committed to effecting fundamental change at the DC VAMC, as well as around the country.  The findings in this latest OIG Report cannot be ignored and we agree with Secretary Shulkin’s statement earlier today that “it is time for this organization to do business differently.”

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report issued today details how leaders at the medical center and in VA regional and national oversight positions had repeatedly been made aware of—and failed to remediate—long-standing problems with core hospital services that affect the delivery of quality patient care. The inspection report found that these problems included deficiencies in sterilizing instruments, getting supplies and equipment to patient care areas when needed, accounting for millions of dollars in inventory, promptly ordering prosthetic devices, and managing assets.

Blake added: “We commend the Secretary’s proposal to have unannounced audits of the VA conducted by health care and management experts. The fact is, Paralyzed Veterans is the only congressionally-chartered veterans service organization authorized to conduct annual site visits to VA medical facilities, particularly VA Spinal Cord Injury Centers, to assess the capacity and quality of care being delivered within the VA. Paralyzed Veterans has maintained this responsibility for more than 30 years. This process has allowed us to hold VA accountable to its mission first, particularly when it comes to delivering timely, quality health care to catastrophically disabled veterans.

The Secretary’s announcement to make real changes at both the VISN and VACO levels is encouraging. Paralyzed Veterans believes that a bloated administration at the VISN level and a dysfunctional VACO structure hampers the important work of delivering care to veterans. Meaningful reform is needed to these structures of the VA, ensuring health care is not compromised by bureaucracy and administration.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Lani Poblete, 202-416-7736,