WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement in response to the VA Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) report on the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program in Milwaukee.
Senator Baldwin has raised concerns with the VA and VA OIG about the Zablocki VAMC Domiciliary on behalf of constituents and whistleblowers since the fall of 2014. The VA OIG investigation was initiated at Senator Baldwin’s request following the death of Cole Schuler, a 26-year-old former U.S. Army Ranger from the Fox River Valley. Senator Baldwin also requested an investigation into overall operations at Zablocki. The VA OIG report was released today.
“For the past three years I have worked with whisteblowers and the Schuler family to raise concerns about the Zablocki VA. I called for the VA and the VA Inspector General to investigate these concerns and address safety and security problems. For me, Cole’s tragic death sadly highlights the fact that the VA did not take the actions necessary to address these problems. The Inspector General report makes clear that the facilities at Zablocki lacked competent management, were inadequately staffed, and were not safe and secure environments for veterans. The report also makes recommendations that must be followed. Our veterans deserve better at Zablocki, and I will continue my work to hold the VA accountable. They must put in place solutions that prevent tragedies like Cole’s from ever happening again.”