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VA Report Says Failures Put Patients At Risk At D.C. Hospital

The Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general says "a series of systemic and programmatic failures" at a major veterans hospital put patients at risk.

In a report released Wednesday, the inspector general detailed staffing issues, communication breakdowns and unnecessary spending at the VA hospital in Washington, D.C.

The investigation uncovered that officials spent at least $92 million on overpriced medical supplies, left patient health records sitting in unsecured boxes and would even anesthetize patients before realizing their surgery would need to be rescheduled because the equipment wasn't available.

The report calls out VA officials, saying at least three program offices knew about "serious, persistent deficiencies" at the hospital. But VA Secretary David Shulkin said he doesn't remember senior leaders notifying him about the problems while he was the undersecretary of health.

The inspector general didn't find any patient harm but said that was mostly because health care providers thought quickly on their feet.

The VA said it's accepted all 40 recommendations in the report. Those suggestions focus on how to improve hospital conditions in D.C. and at other VA facilities.

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