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Ranking Member Walz Reacts To Continued Patient Safety Concerns At D.C. VA Medical Center

May 10, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) sent a letter it to VA Acting Under Secretary Alaigh citing continued patient safety concerns at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center. 
The letter detailed the findings of an OIG Rapid Response Team who visited the facility today. Specifically, the team found a patient prepped for vascular surgery in an operating room under anesthesia whose surgery was postponed because “the surgeon did not have the particular sterile instruments necessary to perform the surgery.” Additionally, the Rapid Response Team found “surgical instruments that had color stains of unknown origin in sterile packs.”
“The fact that veterans seeking care at the D.C. VA Medical Center continue to be put at unnecessary risk is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable,” Rep. Walz said. “Last week, I personally visited the facility. There, I was encouraged by the steps VA leaders were taking to improve the facility's inventory and supply-chain management capabilities; however, the revelations of the OIG letter clearly indicate the D.C. VA is not doing enough to keep veterans safe.” 
“I will always be unrelenting in my effort to serve and protect veterans. There is simply no other option than to get this right. That is why I will continue to call on the Administration, as well as my colleagues in the Senate and House Majority, to join House Democrats in our efforts to hold the VA accountable.”