Another V.A. hospital has come under fire for covering up abuse, just as the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a wide-ranging investigation on Thursday. Miami's V.A. hospital is being accused of being home to rampant drug dealing, patient abuse, and other crimes by a V.A. law-enforcement officer. Thomas Fiore says that after he reported the problems to superiors, instead of being allowed to investigate as a detective, he was reassigned to clerical work. This move, he says, was an act of retaliation. He alleges that the Miami facility allows drug dealing among patients and failing to prevent abuse and even death. Fiore claims he was encouraged to come forward after he saw a federal report this spring detailing many of his complaints about the drug rehabilitation center at the Miami V.A.
The misconduct at V.A. hospitals has become a national story after CNN's investigative team uncovered alleged misbehavior at a Phoenix V.A. hospital, where chronically ill patients were reportedly kept waiting, and some of them even died as a result. The Daily Beast reported this week a V.A. hospital in New Mexico kept patients with serious heart conditions, brain tumors, and gangrene waiting for months. On Wednesday, President Obama held a press conference to try to show his administration was responding to the scandal. He also announced that V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki was leading an investigation into not only reports of misconduct at the Phoenix hospital but examining all facilities across the system. Obama's deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, will also conduct a complete review of veterans care priorities.