The director and chief of staff of the VA hospital in Manchester, N.H., have been removed from their posts following a news report of dirty conditions, long patient wait times and substandard care, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced Sunday.
A group of 11 whistleblowers, including some physicians and other medical personnel, contacted the federal government and the Boston Globe with complaints of dangerous conditions, the newspaper reported Sunday.
In addition to removing the top two officials at the hospital, Shulkin called for a “top-to-bottom” review of the hospital, starting Monday.
“These are serious allegations, and we want our veterans and our staff to have confidence in the care we’re providing,” Shulkin said in a written statement. “I have been clear about the importance of transparency, accountability and rapidly fixing any and all problems brought to our attention, and we will do so immediately with these allegations.”
The director, Danielle Ocker, was replaced by Alfred Montoya, the director of the VA hospital in White River Junction, Vt. The VA said it would soon find a replacement for the chief of staff, James Schlosser.
According to VA documents from December, the Manchester VA Medical Center, the only VA hospital in New Hampshire, was given four stars on a five-star rating system that compares VA hospitals nationwide.
However, flies infested one of the four operating rooms at the hospital, which had to be shut down, according to the Globe report. The Veterans Choice Program, which allows patients to seek care in the private sector, “has broken down” there, the report said, and thousands of veterans have been unable to schedule appointments.
The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel had already been investigating the hospital and found a “substantial likelihood” of a danger to public health, according to the news report. It ordered an investigation by the VA Office of Medical Inspector, which began in January.
Now, VA headquarters is starting its own investigation. The VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection was sent to the hospital Monday, the VA said.
President Donald Trump established the office earlier this year with the purpose of removing poor-performing employees.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.