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Government

Clarksburg Veterans’ Murders Focal Point of Senate Hearing

0511 Manchin at VA Senate Hearing
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
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West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, speaks at the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing May 11 next to Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.

The murder of patients at a veteran’s hospital in West Virginia were a focus of discussion in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs heard from VA officials about how the department is improving its quality of care after investigations into multiple high-profile scandals at VA facilities in recent years, including the murder of seven veterans at VAMC Clarksburg by a nurse assistant.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, joined his colleagues in calling for greater accountability of leadership to avoid future tragedies.

“How do we hold the VA leaders responsible in instance like the murders at Clarksburg?” Manchin said. “ How do they stay in the system? How are they able to retire with a benefit, with such disrespect and such neglect and malfeasance of doing their job?”

VA officials stressed that incidents like the one at Clarksburg are rare, and insisted the organization has integrated the findings from the ensuing investigations.

“The lessons learned from Clarksburg and from Fayetteville were discussed widely and continue to be,” said VA Assistant Under Secretary Carolyn M. Clancy. “When we have big leadership meetings, we start with a patient safety story.”

Clancy is referring to a former pathologist at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas, who was charged with three counts of manslaughter in 2019.

A Manchin-sponsored bill granting subpoena power to the VA’s Office of Inspector General passed the Senate last month, and is due to be taken up by the House of Representatives next week.


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