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DeFazio-Led Investigation Finds Evidence of Serious Patient Care, Workplace Quality Issues at Roseburg VA

Mar 1, 2018
Press Release
Summary Includes 28 Recommendations for Improved Patient Care on Local, Regional, National Level

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s Office of the Medical Inspector (OMI) today released a summary of findings following an investigation initiated by Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) into allegations of mismanagement and substandard patient care within the Roseburg VA Healthcare System (VARHS).

The VA found evidence substantiating six concerns, including problems with employee management and intimidation, medical care, and inadequate resources. Due to their findings, the VA issued 28 recommendations to local, regional and national level offices that have or will ultimately lead to significant improvements within VARHS as well as VA Medical Centers around the country.

“I’m pleased to see that the VA has substantiated the numerous claims employees, patients, and former staff have raised with my office,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) “The recommendations laid out in the summary are only the beginning, though—I will continue to work with stakeholders on the local, regional and national levels to ensure these recommendations are implemented and Oregon’s veterans and veterans nationwide get the care they deserve.”

The recommendations made to VARHS include:

  • Refining and standardizing radiology procedures, leading to reduced patient wait times and faster diagnostic time;
  • Improving communication between medical facilities within the area and ensuring adequate medical coverage for low-coverage departments;
  • Removal of several staff members from supervisory responsibilities—in some cases, which has already occurred;
  • Auditing of several medical cases with unfavorable patient outcomes; and
  • Training of staff members on CREW, a VA-led culture change initiative.

Once finalized, a copy of the final report will be provided to Rep. DeFazio as well as to the Chairs of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs. A second investigation, conducted by the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP), is expected to conclude in the coming weeks. The OAWP is expected to address allegations of whistleblower retaliation and employee intimidation.

Following the resignation of former VARHS Director Doug Paxton last month, the VA assigned interim Director David Whitmer to lead VARHS. Rep. DeFazio has been in close contact with Mr. Whitmer, and he has reiterated his commitment to improving the Roseburg VA system.

“VARHS has suffered from years of mismanagement, and it is long past due that the VA implements lasting, meaningful change,” added Rep. DeFazio.

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