WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs has fired the man who formerly headed the Washington DC VA Medical Center.
It all started with a scathing report back in April detailing unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the hospital that were putting lives of veterans at risk and millions of dollars of unaccounted medical equipment.
After the April report was released, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin reassigned medical director Brian Hawkins to administrative duty. However, nearly four months later, Hawkins was fired after an internal investigation revealed additional serious issues.
A new report by the VA Office of Inspector General on Tuesday says Hawkins sent sensitive VA information to his own personal email as well as his wife's personal email, a violation of VA policy. It was not detailed exactly what he was sending, but just that it was personnel information.
“On July 28, VA terminated the employment of former Washington DC VA Medical Center Director Brian Hawkins because he failed to provide effective leadership at the medical center,” the Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement. “This action underscores VA’s commitment to holding all employees accountable if they fail to do their jobs or live up to VA’s values.”
The statement goes on to address recent improvements under Washington DC VA Medical Center Director acting director Lawrence Connell saying the hospital is continuing aggressive recruiting and hiring efforts, implementing an Environmental Management Service support contract to supplement cleaning the facility, overhauled medical supply monitoring, inventoried and reorganized all of its primary supply areas in its warehouse and ordered 2,700 new medical instruments.
Connell is also taking additional steps towards transparency and is hosting monthly open-door sessions to speak with veterans, employees and community members.