May 02, 2019

Chairman Takano Responds to “Alarming” OIG Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) responded to the Department of Veterans Affairs office of the Inspector General new report, Expendable Inventory Management System: Oversight of Migration from Catamaran to the Generic Inventory Package, which revealed alarming problems with VA’s management of medical supply inventories at its hospitals nationwide.

After initially identifying concerns at the VA medical center in Washington, DC, last year, VA’s watchdog conducted a nationwide audit and found systemic problems that not only can lead to shortages of critical supplies used for surgery and patient care, but also can result in over-stockages and wasteful spending. The report found that 19% of supplies reviewed during visits to 11 VA medical facilities were under-stocked presenting a risk that the supplies would not be available when patients needed them.

“I take issue with any misallocation or mismanagement of resources intended for our nation’s veterans. This report identifies troubling major inventory management problems that can affect the safety and quality of care given to our veterans,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “VA must act to improve the effectiveness and accountability for tracking the availability of medical supplies. We cannot let mismanagement put the care our veterans receive at risk.”

“These supply problems are alarming. VA has acknowledged the seriousness of these problems and has promised action,” said Congressman Chris Pappas, Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee Oversight and Investigations that is examining medical supply chain management issues. “The Committee will review these steps to make sure they will take the VA in the right direction.”

Later this month, the Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing to examine VA’s progress toward resolving the many management challenges identified by the IG and GAO, including those that have contributed to the weaknesses that the IG has identified in VA’s medical supply inventory management system.