(WASHINGTON)--The American Federation of Government Employees today issued the following statement regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on the Legionnaires outbreak within the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System.
"We believe the report does not go far enough in determining why hospital management and VISN leadership did not do more once they discovered the problem back in 2011," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "The report goes into great detail about the function of the water system and the history of Legionnaires disease but it leaves us wondering, given all that the VA knows about Legionella, why werent our veterans and health care workers fully protected from this outbreak?
"We're also stunned to learn VISN 4 Director Michael Moreland received a generous bonus while this outbreak occurred on his watch. Nurses, doctors, support staff and others are forced to do more with less in order to care for our vets, while executives are rewarded for mismanagement. This has to end."
"When our veterans step in to a VA hospital they expect world-class care and our members work hard each day to exceed that expectation. VA leaderships poor oversight of the Legionella problem put our veterans and our employees at risk. They must be held accountable," said AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee. "This report shows us where the VA dropped the ball. Now we must keep the pressure on to ensure that either Mr. Moreland, or those who find his performance acceptable, is held accountable."
"Veterans and hospital employees didn't find out about the escalating Legionella concerns until more than a year after trouble began, but VISN Director Moreland knew. That is truly a scandal," said AFGE District 3 National Vice President Keith Hill. "We've been sounding the alarm for years about Director Moreland's poor leadership and the retaliatory actions taken against VA employee whistleblowers under his watch. The VA needs to take a hard look at its management ranks and weed out those who are not acting in the best interest of our veterans."