CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R–W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D–W.Va., along with Rep. David McKinley, R–W.Va.–01, visited the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center Monday to meet with Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.
The meeting comes after Reta Mays was sentenced last week to seven life sentences for murdering seven veterans at the VA Medical Center.
“We’re completely determined to rebuild your trust, transparently, methodically, one veteran at a time, one family at a time, one day at a time,” said McDonough.
“Looking at what the OIG came out with, they had a whole list of recommendations, and so did the joint commission that reviewed this hospital and certification. Putting those two reports together and then holding them accountable. The lists are there. What they’re gonna—they say we need to do. Let’s make sure they do it,” said McKinley.
“We wanna look forward. We wanna look forward to the great care that has been offered here and that will be offered here in the future. We wanna restore the confidence and the morale. And, we are, uh, in a position to be be able to help, not just this facility, but the VA in general, correct some egregious mistakes to make sure that we don’t have, uh, something like this ever occur again, uh, and that we can also, I think, build a better VA for the future, for our veterans and their families,” said Capito.
“We want this to be the gold standard, and we’re gonna correct this. And, there’s no excuses for the lapse of care that was given. There’s no excuse for that. But, this can be prevented, and we can set the gold standard for the rest of the country, and that’s what we intend to do,” said Manchin.
Manchin, Capito and McKinley also released statements about their visit on Monday:
“Today, VA Secretary McDonough and I visited the Clarksburg VAMC to learn more about the lapses in procedure and leadership that allowed for the horrific deaths of West Virginia Veterans at the Clarksburg VAMC. It has taken nearly three years to get an answer for our Veterans and their families, and I will continue to ask for a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on VAMC care so that we can ensure that what happened at the Clarksburg VAMC will never happen to another Veteran.”Sen. Manchin
“The bottom line is we must address the abject failures at the Clarksburg VA to ensure a tragedy like this can never happen again. It will take a unified approach, with everyone’s commitment from the top down, to better serve those who gave so much to our country. I appreciate Secretary McDonough taking the time to come to West Virginia today to see firsthand the policies, procedures, and action items that need to be put in place to regain the trust of our veterans and provide a safe, high-quality health care environment.”Sen. Capito
“We must hold the leadership of the VA accountable to ensure what happened at Clarksburg never happens again. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and too often the VA has let them down. They deserve better.”
“There were so many failures on so many levels that led to this travesty. Our delegation will continue to work to reform the VA, provide oversight, and impose accountability, so our veterans and their families can have peace of mind they will receive the best care possible any time they go to a VA facility.”Rep. McKinley