Durbin, Duckworth Urge VA Secretary To Look Into Mismanagement At Marion VA

WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin to discuss allegations of mismanagement and poor patient care at Marion VA Medical Center.  Recent reports detail alleged incidents of prohibited personnel practices at Marion VA, including whistleblower retaliation, nepotism, unfair labor practices, and mistreatment and abuse of employees.  Most concerning is the fact that this alleged mismanagement is negatively impacting quality of care and jeopardizing patient safety.

“We owe each and every veteran a great debt of gratitude, and their health care needs should be treated with the utmost care and attention at VA medical centers across the country,” said Durbin.  “Allegations of personnel mismanagement that are impacting patient care at Marion VA Medical Center are extremely concerning to me, especially given the history of mismanagement at this facility.  Today, Senator Duckworth and I pressed Secretary Shulkin to hold the Marion VA accountable for implementing true management reforms that enhance the quality of care for our nation’s heroes and protect whistleblowers.”

“Our Veterans deserve the very best care they can get, and any allegation that they receive anything less demands immediate attention and a thorough review by VA leadership,” said Duckworth. “Fighting for Veterans and Veteran families is my life’s work, and I find these allegations deeply troubling. I’m glad Senator Durbin and I could meet with Secretary Shulkin today to lay the groundwork for improved oversight and services at the Marion VA and I will remain steadfast in my work to ensure our nation’s heroes at VA medical centers across the country receive the care they deserve.” 

Photos of today’s meeting are available here.

Senators Durbin and Duckworth have long been outspoken about the need to investigate potential mismanagement at the Marion VA Medical Center. After hearing concerns from Marion VA hospital employees, the Senators penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael J. Missal this past May urging him to initiate an independent investigation into patient care at the Marion VA. When the Senators failed to see improvements in patient care and safety at the Marion VA, they wrote a second letter in July to Secretary Shulkin requesting a meeting to stress the need for a comprehensive review of the Marion VA by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Senators Durbin and Duckworth have consistently worked to address allegations of long wait times, substandard care, unsanitary conditions, and whistleblower retaliation within the VA.  They have also worked to resolve problems at Hines VA Hospital in recent years.  Duckworth coauthored and Durbin cosponsored the bipartisan Clay Hunt SAV (Suicide Prevention for American Veterans) Act, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously last Congress and was signed into law to improve mental health care services for Veterans and reduce Veteran suicide.  The Senators have also been active on reducing Veterans homelessness and in helping the VA recruit and retain quality medical staff, particularly in rural areas.