Year after roaches reported at VA hospital, leaders say conditions have improved

CHICAGO --One year ago, an inspector reported shocking conditions at the Hines VA Hospital, including veterans being served food on trays crawling with roaches.

The report released by the Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s office cites an unannounced inspection to Hines VA Hospital in May of 2016. The results of which were made public this week and were critical of the food preparation areas and food trays.  The report said cockroaches were “persistently present” and conditions favorable to pest infestation with understaffing contributed to the problems.

Furthermore, hospital leadership knew of the problems but failed to correct them.

The investigation was requested then Sen. Mark Kirk and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, both veterans themselves, in April of 2016.  Duckworth toured the site for herself in June of last year.

Since then, according to the report, the situation has vastly improved. New leadership has been tapped and a commercial pest company has been brought in to address conditions among other changes.

Hines VA Spokesman Rick Fox said in an email to WGN News:

We're committed to making all necessary changes to provide the best environment for our veterans. The conditions present in May 2016, one year ago, were unacceptable and have since been addressed.