November 19, 2018

Sens. Warren and Markey Seek Answers from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Following Report of Patient Neglect at the Brockton VA Nursing Home

Lawmakers highlight whistleblower accounts of nurses asleep during shifts, neglecting regularly required monitoring of patients, and other misconduct

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have sent a letter to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to express concern and to request information about another disturbing report of patient neglect at the nursing home on the campus of the Brockton VA Medical Center.

On November 14, 2018, the Boston Globepublished an article on a VA Office of the Medical Inspector (OMI) report that identified significant lapses in care at the Brockton VA nursing home (community living center, or CLC), including “a nurse and a nurse’s aide fast asleep during their shifts” and nurses “often sleep[ing] when they were supposed to be working.” If these reports are true, they raise serious questions about the operations and leadership of the facility. OMI began its investigation as a result of a whistleblower report, and the lawmakers also expressed concern that the whistleblower who exposed problems at the Brockton VA nursing home felt compelled to resign due to the retaliatory culture at the facility.

“We know you agree that all veterans deserve the highest quality medical care – whether at Brockton, Bedford, or any other VA facility,” wrote the senators. “But this latest report of patient neglect at the Brockton VA is part of a troubling pattern of misconduct at VA facilities in Massachusetts and across the country, and underscores the need for rapid and lasting improvements in quality of care. We cannot be satisfied until every veteran receives the services they need and deserve.”

In order to have a full, transparent account of the misconduct that occurred at the Brockton VA nursing home, the senators requested information and asked a series of questions about the steps that have been taken to remedy deficiencies in care and to end future neglect at this facility.

The senators requested that VA Secretary Wilkie respond to their questions by November 30, 2018 and arrange a staff briefing by the VA Office of the Medical Inspector (OMI) regarding its investigation and findings at the Brockton VA.

The lawmakers noted that Brockton VA nursing home has the lowest quality rating – one star – according to the VA’s own data. This latest report of patient neglect at the Brockton VA nursing home follows previous reports of substandard care at the Bedford VA.