Congressman Chris Collins Blasts Buffalo VA’s Continued Negligence
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement on new allegations of wrongdoing at the Buffalo VA.
“I am extremely disappointed with today’s reports of continued malpractice and negligence at the Buffalo VA,” said Congressman Collins. “The lack of urgency amongst the agency’s leadership is inexcusable. Hospitals need to emphasize quality of care. When quality of care is not put first, negative consequences occur. Unfortunately, disturbing outcomes from the VA have happened all too frequently. It is insulting to our veterans that just over a year ago, the same carelessness led to hundreds of service members being potentially exposed to hepatitis and HIV.”
Congressman Collins’ remarks come after the U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent a letter to President Obama outlining findings on whistleblower disclosures from employees at VAMC facilities across the country. The Buffalo VA was mentioned in the report and included the following language:
“In Buffalo, NY, the OMI [Office of the Medical Inspector] substantiated a whistleblower’s allegation that health care professionals do not always comply with VA sterilization for wearing personal protective equipment, and that these workers occasionally failed to place indicator strips in surgical trays and mislabeled sterile instruments. OMI did not believe that the confirmed allegations affected patient safety.”
In order to correct these issues, the House passed H.R. 2072, the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2014, which Congressman Collins became a lead advocate after the hepatitis issue in Buffalo last year. The bill will force the Inspector General to notify Congress and the Secretary of the VA if a facility has not appropriately responded to an issue, and will further hold managers at these facilities responsible for implementing necessary changes.