News Releases

Murray Asks VA Secretary for Results of Internal Audit

Mar 14 2007

Senator wants to know conditions of VISN 20 facilities

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In the wake of news coverage of squalid conditions and bureaucratic red tape at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash), today wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson requesting the results of an internal audit of VA facilities due to him today.



According to the Associated Press, following complaints about Department of Defense medical facilities and hold units, Nicholson has ordered an internal review of the quality of the VA's own 1,400 hospitals and clinics. The evaluations are due today.



Murray, a top member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, wrote to Nicholson:

"I understand that the troubling conditions reported out of Walter Reed caused you to order a broad review of the VA medical system to determine if the conditions found at Walter Reed also exist in the VA system. Press reports indicate that you requested all VA medical directors submit reports to you detailing their facilities' environment of care by March 14th.

"In order to be aware of conditions of VA care in the Northwest, I respectfully request a copy of the report submitted to you on the status of conditions at Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20."






The full text of Senator Murray's letter follows:



March 14, 2007



The Honorable R. James Nicholson
Secretary
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20240



Dear Secretary Nicholson:



I am very concerned about the quality of care that our injured troops and veterans are receiving at medical facilities throughout our country.



The Washington Post's investigative series on the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center exposed the appalling state of affairs at the crown jewel of our military health facilities. The shameful conditions and bureaucratic red tape uncovered by the Post are not only wholly unacceptable, but raise serious questions about the quality of care being provided to our injured troops and veterans in military and veterans' facilities across the country.



Since Walter Reed is a Department of Defense (DoD) facility, I eagerly await hearing from DoD on how they plan to address the very serious failures in their system, both at Walter Reed and throughout the military health system.



I am writing you today to inquire about the care our veterans are receiving throughout the country. I am very concerned that the problems exposed at Walter Reed are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, slow access to medical services and inferior quarters are reported to exist in VA facilities across the country.



I understand that the troubling conditions reported out of Walter Reed caused you to order a broad review of the VA medical system to determine if the conditions found at Walter Reed also exist in the VA system. Press reports indicate that you requested all VA medical directors submit reports to you detailing their facilities' environment of care by March 14th.



In order to be aware of conditions of VA care in the Northwest, I respectfully request a copy of the report submitted to you on the status of conditions at Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20.



I thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request and I look forward to receiving a copy of this report shortly.



Sincerely,

Patty Murray
United States Senator