House Veterans’ Affairs: Dismiss Mary Berrocal & Nevin Weaver from Miami VA Hospital immediately – Part 3
Part 3 of 3
Back to the Veterans’ Committee comments and questions concerning what’s going on at the Miami VA Medical Center and what are Berrocal, Weaver and Schoenhard going to do about it.
“We’ve got veterans that are escaping the facility and committing suicide.” said Johnson, who heads up the Veterans’ Committee oversight and investigative subcommittee. “That’s not accountability, not when patients are leaving your facility and dying.“
Berrocal proceeded to say that she was “keenly cognizant of anything that would be less than perfect for our veterans.”
She also said she believes her staff is held accountable for problems, however, up to this point, she hasn’t name a single person, whom she disciplined as a result of the mix –up that caused Air Force Veteran, Catawaba Howard her life. Berrocal mentioned that she aims for a workplace (she has been in this current position 3 years) culture that allows people to report problems without threat of recrimination. But that’s exactly what she did too one of her employees for speaking out for the veterans.
When Berrocal found out that one of her employees had indeed sent an email to her superior; Berrocal retaliated by confiscating that employees email, transferring her far away from her home and family; and made sure that she was assigned to an office with no windows, giving her the task of calling veterans, effectively, demoting her from her previous position.
Berrocal further states that “We have set policies in place … and when members of our staff deviate, we have a variety of systems in place to understand what happened.” She said. “It is my policy to always start looking at the process.”
Berrocal words are in striking contrast to her actions. Under Berrocal directions, the following has taken place.
1. In the process of moving her executive office from the 2nd floor to the 15th Floor and renovating the entire 15th Floor at a cost of $2.5 Million, compliments of the taxpayers.
2. Cancelled the golf carts for the veterans, making their ability to get to the hospital that much more difficult. (needed the money to pay for her office renovation)
3. Allow Police Officers to work overtime to walk the employees to their car, rather than working out a more cost effective approach.
4. Replaced the locks at the VA Medical Center because she broke protocol and took the keys home and subsequently misplaced the keys, at a cost of $24,000, compliments of the taxpayers.
5. Failed to immediately notify (it took over a year) 79 other veterans that they might have been infected with HIV or Hepatitis through improperly performed colonoscopies at the hospital.
6. And it took nearly two years to notify another 12 veterans’ that were missed after the first notifications.
7. Failed to conduct a “Mock Survey,” previously requested by the Committee, even though she lied and said that she had. The Committee asked for the date the survey was conducted. She couldn’t remember.
8. Failed to respond in a timely manner to other requests by the Committee.
9. Received a retention bonus in 2010 & 2011, respectively, of $36,000, even though she received a less than favorable annual reviews both times.
10. The VA is expected to be in ligation for years to come, due to the negligence at Miami VA Medical Center, at a cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayers.
Berrocal actions or lack there of, speaks for itself, and her representation of the Miami VA Medical Center to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee put the icing on the cake.
The Committee’s patience with Schoenhard wore thin as Schoenhard tried his very best not to assume blame, while at the same time, hold no one particular person accountable for the egregious actions and gross mistakes committed at the Miami Medical VA Center. Only problem is! If no one assumes responsibility, then William Schoenhard will ultimately be responsible for the actions of others.
As the committee stated before recess: “This meeting has generated far more questions than answers and will need to be monitored closely in the future, in addition to changing the current administrators for the betterment of the veterans and its employees. The veterans deserve better treatment!“
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