Missing VA equipment

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SAN ANTONIO -- Millions of dollars’ worth of items paid for by tax payer dollars have been lost or stolen from the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and properties all across Texas.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, KXAN, an NBC television station in Austin, Texas, discovered $6.2 million worth of taxpayer-purchased items missing from Department

of Veterans Affairs hospitals and properties across Texas. KXAN reported the records show 4,957 pieces of equipment categorized as lost or stolen, which were still

unaccounted for by the VA over a roughly five-year period from 2010 to the later part of 2015.

$1.5 million worth of the lost or stolen equipment was from San Antonio. Some of the items included an image eraser worth almost $77,000, an almost $45,000 power supply unit, a laser film digitizer and a generator.

"This is just about as bad as it gets," said Congressman Lamar Smith to News 4 San Antonio. The local Congressman went on to say he continues to be disappointed with how the Veterans Administration System is managed.

"You've gotta be asking yourself, ‘when does this stop?"’

Smith voted on two bills making it easier to fire or demote bad VA employees. Smith says now it's nearly impossible to replace employees at federal agencies like the VA no matter how bad their behavior.

"The VA is proving that they can't be trusted with care for our veterans or with our taxpayer dollars," said Cody McGregor, the National Outreach Director for Concerned Veterans for America.

The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act just passed Congress earlier this month.

"We're hopeful that it can get passed through the Senate because what it does, is it started establishing some accountability with the VA," McGregor went on to say.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sent News 4 San Antonio the following statement:

"Currently, our equipment inventory management processes account for 99% of all equipment purchased. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our equipment inventory management processes. In fact, we are currently planning to implement tracking devices on all pieces of equipment for inventory ease and accuracy. At VA, we are in the business of taking care of Veterans and all of our equipment and items that we have in our possession are ultimately for the provision of high-quality care and services to Veterans. Thus management and accountability of equipment is of high importance."

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