Fraud, waste and abuse scandal uncovered at Detroit VA

282 of the 300 purchased TVs by the Detroit VA. (Veterans Affairs)

A review conducted by the VA Inspector General’s Office found that the Detroit VA hospital squandered over $311,000 for 300 television sets- that mostly ended up sitting in storage since 2013.

A VA Inspector General’s findings review reported that the IG received an allegation that the VA Medical Center in Detroit Michigan purchased over 300 televisions in September of 2013 to the tune of $311,000.

“The facility acquired the equipment in September 2013 as part of a project to replace the patient TV system in the facility,” the report read.

However, while the facility purchased 300 of the television sets, only 18 of them were ever used due to the fact that the wrong television sets were purchased.

“Despite having the TVs and accessories on hand for about 2 1/2 years,’ the findings reported, ‘the facility was unable to install the TVs in patient rooms because they did not meet the patient TV system design specifications identified in the architect and engineer (AE) services contract.”

So, for over two and one-half years, the televisions collected dust in storage.

The Inspector General’s Office determined that the television sets were purchased well before they were actually needed, with no actual plans scheduled to make the necessary changes needed to install them in the first place. Furthermore, the warranties for the televisions expired in January of 2015, thus putting the facility under financial pressure to replace any faulty TVs out of pocket should they ever be fully set up for use.

The Inspector General’s office determined that the television sets should have been purchased closer to the actual date of the contract to install them, something that still has not come into fruition.

“By purchasing these items at least 2 1/2 years before a construction contract to install them was awarded, the Detroit VAMC prevented the use of about $292,500 that could have been better spent on other facility priorities,” the memo said. “As of June 21, 2016, the facility had not yet awarded a contract to install these TVs. By purchasing the TVs too early in the process, the facility allowed valuable warranties to expire, increasing the risk of incurring additional expenses to replace any faulty TVs.”

The IG recommended that the television sets be installed in short order or redistributed to other VA facilities for use, as well as advising appropriate members of the leadership chain to consult with VA financial and legal officials to determine if the bona fide needs rule was violated. If found in violation, leadership is advised to “take the steps necessary to remedy the violation.“

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Author

  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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