CHAIRMAN BOB FILNER
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 15, 2009
FILNER APPALLED BY LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY, LEADERSHIP AT VA
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) released this statement regarding recent operating problems with the electronic medical records system at the Department of Veterans Affairs:
"I am disappointed to learn of troubling new revelations from the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding operating problems with the most recent upgrade to the electronic medical records system. At this time, there is no evidence that any patient was harmed. Oversight of this incident will continue.
“Veterans deserve leaders at the VA who are accountable for the actions of the agency. VA continues to discover problems and attempts to fix them quietly and internally, and then downplays them as inconsequential and non-threatening. After numerous offers, VA bureaucrats still refuse to alert Congress to the issues and problems that affect our constituents – our veterans – in a timely and proactive way. I look to President-elect Obama to improve care for our veterans and to provide accountability during this rebuilding process.
“The VA has been plagued by poor leadership and management. It is troubling to learn that the Under Secretary of Health did not approve the field release of the new upgrade. No one expects new software to operate perfectly, but confidence must be inherent in any electronic medical records system. VA bureaucrats consistently refuse to provide necessary information regarding the serious problems that affect veterans and this pattern of secrecy is disconcerting and does enormous harm to all stakeholders. I expect an attitude of leadership and transparency with the Obama Administration.
“There is a dangerous lack of accountability within VA bureaucracy and a troubling scarcity of leadership that damages the relationship between the VA and the veteran. This unfortunate pattern has continued for too long. I am hopeful for the changes on the horizon for our veterans and their families. It is time to restore integrity, service and accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our veterans deserve strong leadership and I believe Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee Eric Shinseki will be an exceptional leader.”
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Thursday, January 15, 2009