Sestak Introduces Legislation to Ensure Transparency of VA Inspections

“The public should have had immediate access to all such reports including the three done at the Community Living Center so there can be a full accounting of any deficiencies in care,” said Congressman Sestak, a former 3-star admiral who previously expressed his concern about a lack of transparency in a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. “The failure to provide a sanitary and safe environment for residents in this case is even more problematic when the truth is hidden from the public, resulting in a lack of faith in the care the VA provides. If there are other known instances of inadequate VA care, they should be disclosed immediately with confirmation of the appropriate corrective action taken.”

In Pennsylvania, nursing homes are inspected annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which requires that anyone can ask to see a copy of this report at any nursing home, and the survey results are posted online. This kind of transparency — which enables accountability and reform — is the least we can do for America’s heroes.

As another part of his effort to ensure accountability, Congressman Sestak has also emphasized the need to determine why two initial reviews did not reveal the problems documented in the Long Term Care report and whether appropriate criteria are consistently used in similar investigations at VA facilities.

With the introduction of his legislation, he has stressed the determination with which he, his colleagues and the VA must work together to turn the page to a new era for the agency one in which funds are sufficiently allocated to provide the benefits our Veterans have earned, and in which Congress and all VA officials maintain an unwavering focus on full accountability, transparency and oversight for how resources are implemented.

Born and raised in Delaware County, former 3-star Admiral Joe Sestak served in the Navy for 31 years and now serves as the Representative from the 7th District of Pennsylvania. He led a series of operational commands at sea, including Commander of an aircraft carrier battle group of 30 U.S. and allied ships with over 15,000 sailors and 100 aircraft that conducted operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. After 9/11, the Congressman was the first Director of Deep Blue, the Navy’s anti-terrorism unit that established strategic and operations policies for the Global War on Terrorism. He served as President Clintons Director for Defense Policy at the National Security Council in the White House, and holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University. According to the office of the House Historian, Congressman Sestak is the highest-ranking former military officer ever elected to the U.S. Congress.

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