Florida: Veterans Affairs Hospital throws out State Inspectors seeking answers to veteran deaths

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Liz Dudek said, “This morning [April 9th], two surveyors went to the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital at 9:41 a.m. and left at 10:02 a.m. after being declined the opportunity to review any processes. Despite being turned away a third time from a third VA hospital, the Agency remains firmly committed to helping obtain the necessary information that can help ensure our brave veterans receive the care they deserve when visiting a federal VA hospital in Florida.”

On April 10th Secretary Dudek said, “For a third time in as many days, Agency surveyors were turned away from a VA hospital where we are simply asking to able to review processes. This was our fourth facility visit with this same outcome, and after conversing with VA officials, I look forward to receiving the requested documents timely.”

The Florida AHCA continued its efforts to shine a light on the processes of federal Veterans Affairs hospitals in Florida. The Agency attempted to complete an onsite review this morning at the Bay Pines Medical Center in St. Petersburg, and again were declined the opportunity to review any records at that time.

Secretary Dudek said, “The Agency has yet to receive the follow-up information from our visit to West Palm Beach VA Medical Center last Thursday.  Our goal remains to assess implementation of Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement activities required as part of the internal investigations conducted by representatives of the Department of Veteran Affairs.  Without an ability to review the processes in place regarding risk management and quality assurance, we cannot ensure that our veterans who have so bravely fought to defend and protect our nation are receiving that quality care.”

GovernorRickScottGovernor Rick Scott states, “I am disappointed to learn today another VA hospital—the C.W. ‘Bill’ Young VA Medical Center in Bay Pines—turned away the Agency for Health Care Administration’s surveyors. Yesterday, we learned there were two instances where veterans were harmed, or may have been harmed at this same VA hospital.”

“We need to shine a light on what happened in federal VA facilities in Florida. A thorough review of the deaths should be conducted and released. Floridians deserve to know how our veterans died and who is being held accountable. We still expect the VA to provide this information and be transparent so we stand up for the heroes that stood up for our country,” noted Governor Scott.

On April 14th at 5:00 p.m. Secretary Dudek issued this statement, “The Agency has yet to receive the documents we are looking to receive. We remain committed to helping Governor Scott provide answers for our veterans and their families.”

Governor Scott responded to the lack of response from the VA, “We were told last week that the requested information was forthcoming; this week, we still do not have it.  Through the Agency for Health Care Administration’s inspections, we are working to bring transparency to the processes of federal VA hospitals because our brave veterans deserve quality health care. The VA’s lack of urgency is concerning.”

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