U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio Wednesday called for reforms and stronger oversight of veterans hospitals in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
DeFazio referenced reports on investigations by the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector and the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection into the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. DeFazio said both found evidence of serious problems with employee management and intimidation, medical care and inadequate resources.
He said facilities run by the Roseburg VA suffered from years of substandard patient care and poor management despite his repeated requests to the regional network for oversight.
DeFazio particularly called out the regional Veterans Integrated Service Network-20, also known as the Northwest Network, which is tasked with overseeing the Roseburg VA.
He said the VISN’s failure to act made it necessary for DeFazio to make a direct appeal to former VA Secretary David Shulkin to investigate.
DeFazio thinks the VISNs have proven themselves unnecessary.
“If VISNs cannot function at a high level and competently fulfill their duty to perform meaningful oversight, I recommend the abolishment of the VISN structure and the establishment of a stronger oversight authority. Our veterans deserve better,” he said in a written statement Wednesday.