Manchin Calls AG Barr, Gets Assurance Full DOJ Resources Will Be Given In Clarksburg VA Investigation
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today sent a letter to Attorney General Barr requesting every Department of Justice (DOJ) resource in the investigation into the suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical center in Clarksburg. After speaking with Attorney General Barr, he has already received assurances that the DOJ will provide every resource during the investigation.
Senator Manchin said in part: “Please let me know immediately if you or your office require any additional resources or authority from Congress to complete this investigation thoroughly and expeditiously. Our Veterans have given so much to the country. We owe it to them to provide the best possible care when they return home. Finally, I ask that you do everything possible to ensure that as much information as possible is shared with the Veterans families who are in grief because of this terrible situation.”
Below is a full timeline of steps Senator Manchin and his office have taken during the investigation.
- On Thursday, July 5th 2018, Senator Manchin’s office was notified by the VA Inspector General that at least nine in-patients at the Clarksburg VA hospital had been diagnosed with significant hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) of unclear cause over the past 9 months, and that they had opened a medical and criminal investigation into the matter.
- On Friday, July 6th 2018, Dr. Glenn Snider, the director of the Clarksburg VA, hosted a call with the West Virginia Congressional delegation to discuss the investigation. He reported the following chain of events:
- On June 18th 2018, several doctors reported 8 episodes of low blood sugar with no identified medical cause to the Clarksburg Quality Management (QM) team.
- On June 26th 2018, the QM team elevated the issue to Dr. Snider, who then called Under Secretary Steve Young at the VA Central Office to report the issue.
- On July 2-3rd 2018, seven VA Inspector General (VAOIG) staff came to the Clarksburg VA to open an investigation.
- On Wednesday, July 10th 2018, Senator Manchin sent a letter to then-Acting Secretary of the VA Peter O’Rourke expressing serious concerns about the unexplained episodes of hypoglycemia at the Clarksburg VA. He also clearly stated that he expected VA leadership at every level to cooperate fully with the IG investigation.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Attorney General Barr:
I am writing to follow-up on our conversation and reemphasize my grave concerns over the pace of the investigation and lack of information being made available to West Virginia Veterans and their families concerning the potential homicides at the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center (VAMC) in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Due to the lack of information being made available to the public by investigators, Veterans across my state are losing confidence in the safety, security, and quality of their VA healthcare.
Last July, my office was originally notified of an open VA Inspector General (IG) investigation after multiple unexplained episodes of hypoglycemia at the VAMC in Clarksburg, but I never received notification of a homicide at that time. I immediately reached out to then-Acting Secretary of the VA, Peter O’Rourke, to express my serious concerns about these incidents and make clear my expectations that VA leadership at every level should cooperate fully with the IG investigation. My office repeatedly followed-up with the IG to request updates, but we were told that because of the ongoing IG investigation, specific details or updates could not be provided.
Time is of the essence and the public deserves answers immediately. With each passing day, more and more Veterans could be unknowingly placed in harm’s way. As such, I wanted to thank you for assuring me that the Department of Justice will use every tool at their disposal to support the ongoing investigation into what happened at the VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, and punish, to the full extent of the law, any wrongdoers.
Please let me know immediately if you or your office require any additional resources or authority from Congress to ensure this investigation is completed thoroughly and expeditiously. Our Veterans have given so much to the country. We owe it to them to provide the best possible care when they return home. Finally, I ask that you do everything possible to ensure that as much information as possible is shared with the Veterans families who are in grief because of this terrible situation.
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