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VA “Flagship” Hospital Sinking

It’s about 3.5 miles from the VA hospital in Washington D.C. to the VA’s main office near the White House. The Capitol is about the same distance in a somewhat different direction. You would not be speed walking to cover the distance in an hour or a little bit less. You would think that the VA hospital in DC would be the Flagship, the place they get it right. Sadly, that is not so.

This recent article from describes yet another troubling tale from the VA hospital in our Capitol. A psychiatric patient – in his hospital gown – escaped from his locked ward and then in broad daylight took a cab to a distant suburb.

The article goes on to recite other recent troubles at this institution. It is painful reading.

Think about this a minute: Here is the VA hospital that is almost within sight of the senior leadership of the agency as well as Congress – and the President, for that matter. What does it say about the VA that this hospital is a genuine embarrassment, like some forgotten backwater place. To me it speaks of a long-term failure of leadership and a culture of complacency. Of course, those who suffer are the ones this hospital is supposed to serve, our veterans.

The example of the Washington DC VA hospital is frankly very depressing because it is really the canary in the coal mine. Real change needs to come, but it’s hard to envision that actually happening.



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