CBS, NBC Skip Report Showing ‘Dangerous Conditions’ at D.C. VA Hospital

On Wednesday afternoon, news broke out of Washington D.C. that, “Conditions are so dangerous at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., that the agency's chief watchdog issued a rare preliminary report Wednesday to alert patients and other members of the public.” That, according to USA Today. Despite the horrific conditions found in government ran facilities, CBS and NBC decided to skip the news during their evening broadcasts. ABC, on the other hand, did report the shocking findings.

“A new scathing report about the veterans’ hospital in Washington, D.C., finding potentially dangerous conditions there,” reported Anchor David Muir during ABC’s World News Tonight, “The VA's chief watchdog launching an investigation after receiving documents from a confidential source about problems with equipment and supplies there.” He then rattled off a few of the mind-boggling revelations:

Among the findings, hospital staff ran out of tubes for dialysis, used expired equipment during surgery, and had a device to repair fractures repossessed for non-payment. The report finding no adverse patient outcomes, but the hospital director was immediately relieved of his duties, and authorities say more action is coming.

USA Today also reported that “The VA inspector general found that in recent weeks the operating room at the hospital ran out of vascular patches to seal blood vessels and ultrasound probes used to map blood flow.” They also noted that the last time the VA’s inspector general issued such a preliminary review was in 2015 when a hospital in Phoenix was discovered to have major “lapses in urology care,” which put patients at risk.

“The hospital, which serves more than 98,000 veterans in the nation’s capital, lacks an effective inventory system, the inspector general determined, and senior VA leaders have known about the problem for months and haven’t fixed it” USA Today’s Donovan Slack reported, “Investigators also inspected 25 sterile storage areas and found 18 were dirty.”

In addition to this damaging news coming out of the VA, Slack reported earlier in the day that President Trump’s new VA Secretary, David Shulkin was looking to harness the power of market completion to innovate his department.

“[The VA is] unveiling a new web site [sic] that reveals for the first time exactly how care at VA hospitals compares with nearby private-sector hospitals and national averages,” Slack Wrote, “The site that went live Wednesday, accesstocare.va.gov, also shows if veterans are satisfied with wait times at every hospital and clinic across the country and how long they are actually waiting on average.”

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“In my experience in health care — but it’s like every other industry — industries don’t change from within, they change from outside competition, and they change from outside forces, and that’s very much my philosophy,” the VA Secretary said. Slack added that:

That’s a marked shift from his predecessor, former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald, who as secretary focused heavily on trying to spur internal cultural change, assailed critical media coverage and said that revealing internal quality ratings of VA hospitals would cause veterans “unwarranted distress” and possibly dissuade them from getting care.

It’s unfortunate that two out of the Big Three networks chose not to report the appalling conditions. But then again it does demonstrate how government run healthcare utterly failed the people it claims to want to help. It will be interesting to see how or if the VA’s new market completion approach can change the government ran the system. 

Transcript below:

ABC
World News Tonight
April 12, 2017
6:43:44 PM Eastern [33 Secs]

DAVID MUIR: Next tonight, a new scathing report about the veterans hospital in Washington, D.C., finding potentially dangerous conditions there. The VA's chief watchdog launching an investigation after receiving documents from a confidential source about problems with equipment and supplies there. Among the findings, hospital staff ran out of tubes for dialysis, used expired equipment during surgery, and had a device to repair fractures repossessed for non-payment. The report finding no adverse patient outcomes, but the hospital director was immediately relieved of his duties, and authorities say more action is coming.

CyberAlerts Appointments Government Agencies Health Care Bias by Omission Military Online Media ABC World News CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Major Newspapers USA Today Video Donovan Slack Veterans Affairs Veterans Administration David Muir