(WCBD) — More than $1.5M worth of equipment has been reported lost, or stolen from the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center over the last five years, according to the VA’s ‘report of survey’.
The I-Team obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act request. It shows, the VA lost track of more than 1,300 pieces of equipment during that time. Equipment that you paid for with your tax dollars.
This is not an issue specific to Charleston, in fact, journalists within the Nexstar Media group are finding similar, or worse numbers at VA facilities in other parts of the country.
“The large dollar value items, the items that can’t move…they’re the ones that really raise the red flag,” said Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Assistant Director Felissa Koernig,
Some of those items include a pair of servers bought for nearly $50,000, and another $28,000 computer system.
Koernig says, the numbers could be deceiving.
“While it is dollar-wise a large amount, we believe that most of it is due to administrative error, that is what our Report of Survey team has come back and said that many of these things were turned into logistics without the proper paperwork or were discarded by the using service for being broken without the paperwork ever making it back to logistics services,” Koernig said.
After talking with Koernig, the I-Team requested additional documentation, and it shows that the vast majority of the items listed as lost were either found, or depreciated drastically when they broke, or the VA lost track of them. So, instead of the ‘lost’ items being worth more than $1.5M, the government values that equipment at a little more than $283,000.
Our investigation also revealed the VA reported 13 HDTV sets, and 23 iPads as stolen from their facility. Those cases have been turned over to the inspector general’s office.
Koernig says, the VA has a pilot program in place at one facility using GPS chips to keep track of equipment. She said, she hopes it will be implemented system-wide soon.