No public action taken over Atlanta VA investigation

by: Scott MacFarlane Updated:

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WASHINGTON —

This comes after a series of reports by Channel 2 Action News that revealed that mismanagement contributed to a series of patient deaths at the DeKalb County facility.

Channel 2's Scott MacFarlane found there is concern in Washington that hospital managers are not being held accountable.

"Nobody's accountable. Someone gets slapped on the wrist, reprimanded, and yet they keep getting annual bonuses. There's something wrong with that picture," said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga.

Internal investigators linked three patient deaths, including two suicides, to mismanagement inside the medical center, along with another ugly incident where a mental health patient was loose inside and injected himself with testosterone.

MacFarlane pressed the VA headquarters for answers. He asked has anyone been discipline, forced to retire, reassigned. They gave MacFarlane only a one-word answer, "yes," refusing to give details.

So far there has been no public announcement that anyone's been fired for the scandal.

Channel 2 Action News dug deeper and found a much different response after a 2012 scandal inside the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The scandal involved senior managers squandering millions of tax dollars on an elaborate, over-the-top employee conference near Disney world, which included expensive food, gifts and inexplicably $50,000 in tax dollars blown on a cheap comedy spoof of the movie "Patton."

At least two VA executives were forced to resign. It was publicly announced by federal officials.

Six other executives' names were revealed and it was publicly announced they'd be disciplined too.

So far there has been no public discipline over the events at the Atlanta VA, when lives are lost.

A VA spokesman sent MacFarlane saying they have "taken very aggressive corrective actions to address" the problem at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

One U.S. congressman equated the actions he's heard so far to a "slap on the wrist."