Detroit Free Press
August 10, 2016
WASHINGTON – Officials at Detroit’s Veterans Affairs hospital were coming under close scrutiny Wednesday after federal inspectors reported this week that the facility misspent more than $300,000 on TVs for patient rooms, which couldn’t be installed without spending more on a design change.
More than that, the report from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General found that despite having purchased the 300 TVs and related accessories 2½ years ago, the vast majority of them remain in their boxes, even though their warranties expired more than a year ago.
“By purchasing these items well before a construction contract to install them was awarded, the facility exposed itself to unnecessary financial risk,” said the report, which was released Tuesday. “As of June 21, 2016, the facility had not yet awarded a contract to install these TVs.”
Officials at the hospital, formally known as the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, issued a statement saying they concurred with the inspector general’s findings and recommendations to improve purchase contracts and to consult with legal counsel to determine if rules were broken.
In recent years, the VA nationwide has come under fire for a series of problems, including reports of long waiting lists at some hospitals for veterans to receive treatment and officials trying to make scheduling deficiencies look better than they were. Last year, questions were also raised as VA officials acknowledged they had spent billions on private medical care without signing contracts with providers.
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