VA Fires Former DC Medical Center Director… Again

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By on September 20, 2017 in Agency News with 0 Comments

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has terminated the former director of the Washington, DC VA Medical Center for “failure to provide effective leadership” at the facility.

Brian Hawkins was previously terminated by the VA for a number of serious problems at the facility, some of which were identified in an Office of Inspector General report. Among the items in the report were sterile satellite storage areas that were dirty and non-inventoried equipment, materials and supplies, all of which the IG said put patients at unnecessary risk. See More Patient Care Problems Cited at VA

Investigations conducted by local news organization NBC 4 Washington found that the facility also experienced problems including a cockroach infestation and the body of a patient going undiscovered in the facility’s parking lot for nearly two days.

After being fired the first time, however, Hawkins appealed and the VA was forced to rehire him thanks to a stay issued by the Merit Systems Protection Board.

VA Secretary David J. Shulkin said at the time that the VA would be reviewing its options under the new VA Accountability Act recently signed into law by President Trump in June. Under this law, the VA has more leeway in removing employees for cause.

VA Secretary David J. Shulkin speaking at a public event

VA Secretary David J. Shulkin

As promised, the VA took action under the new law and has again fired Hawkins. “The department undertook this action using authorities provided by the VA Accountability Act,” the VA said in a press release about the incident. Hawkins was notified in August that he was being proposed for termination.

The VA initiated the latest action after the VA Office of Inspector General issued a new report finding that Hawkins violated VA policy by sending sensitive VA information from his work email to unsecured private email accounts.

“We at VA will use the authorities available to ensure our Veterans get the highest quality service and care possible,” said Secretary Shulkin. “This is the right decision for Veterans in D.C., and employees at the medical center, and underscores our commitment to hold employees accountable if they fail to do their jobs or live up to VA’s values.”

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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