According to a report from the Department of Veterans' Affairs inspector general, the agency knew about "widespread and formidable inadequacies in many essential functions" at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C.—but didn't take steps to address the problems. Alarming missteps outlined in the report include doctors having to cancel a surgery post-anesthesia because they lacked the proper equipment, and staff having to run to nearby hospitals to “borrow supplies.” Investigators also found that thousands of boxes full of medical records had been left unsecured in storage facilities, the basement, and a dumpster—and that the hospital spent taxpayer dollars on exorbitantly overpriced medical equipment. The IG found that officials at multiple levels knew about the problems at the D.C. hospital, but did nothing as part of “a culture of complacency.” The IG did not find evidence that VA Secretary David Shulkin or his deputies were informed of the issues. In response to the report, VA officials have reportedly bought $3 million worth of surgical equipment and instituted a better inventory system. The VA has become embroiled in multiple scandals as of late, including Shulkin’s chief of staff retiring after it was found she misled ethics officials to purchase a taxpayer-funded plane ticket to Europe for Shulkin’s wife.
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