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VA Bedford Healthcare System statement on VA OIG report of missing Veteran’s death


September 10, 2021

BEDFORD , MA — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released a report examining the circumstances surrounding the death of a Veteran, Timothy White, on the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital campus, part of the VA Bedford Healthcare System.

We are very saddened over the loss of Mr. Timothy White and extend our deepest condolences to his family. 

As outlined in the OIG report, the VA police department’s failure to locate Mr. White resulted in part from the police and others at VA not considering the Veteran an at-risk missing patient, which would have required a stairwell search. Since this incident, VA has implemented several important process changes:

  • Weekly meetings occur between VA Bedford Healthcare System and lessee agency staff to discuss operational and case management topics.
  • VA Bedford Police conduct daily patrols of Building 5, to include common areas and stairwells.
  • VA Bedford Housekeeping staff perform weekly cleaning of the exterior stairwells of Building 5
  • Changes to VA Bedford Police procedures were implemented widening the definition of who they have the authority to search for anywhere on campus.
  • VA facility leadership are being provided copies of VA Handbook 7454 and access to the SharePoint site where the handbook and leases are stored.
  • A review of all active Enhanced-Use Leases is underway to determine whether current lease language is clear regarding maintenance and security obligations. 
  • Updates are being made to oversight document checklists to clarify the services VA is required to provide under the Enhanced Use Lease.

These improvements will prevent similar situations in the future. Massachusetts Veterans deserve no less.

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