WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) announcement that, amidst allegations of misconduct at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center (VAMC), action has been taken against two senior leaders, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today released the following statement:
"Today's action is long overdue and I'm glad to see Secretary McDonald following through on his commitment to me to fix the problems at the Cincinnati VA and hold individuals accountable. VA management has to deliver the kind of leadership that our veterans deserve – committed and transparent.
"But our work is not done, I look forward to bringing Secretary McDonald to the Cincinnati VA to hear directly from whistleblowers, and I will continue pressing for a quick and thorough investigation so we ensure the problems they brought to light do not continue and veterans get the highest quality care."
Today, the VA issued a notice of pending removal to Jack Hetrick, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN 10) director, and has suspended Dr. Barbara Temeck’s privileges and reassigned her to non-patient-care duties while additional actions are being considered. Hetrick submitted his retirement today. The VA substantiated the allegations regarding Temeck prescribing medication to members of Hetrick's family, and those allegations have been referred to the Office of the Inspector General for a possible criminal investigation.
On Tuesday, Brown announced that he has secured a commitment that VA Secretary Robert McDonald will visit the Cincinnati VAMC to examine the issues firsthand. Brown questioned McDonald at a hearing before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Tuesday and pressed for a thorough investigation. Brown also secured a public commitment from McDonald that whistleblowers will be protected from retaliatory action.