VA hospital homicide roils Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Brian Mast
Marco Rubio and Rick Scott tell China: 'No oil for you.' Image via AP.

'The loss of life under these circumstances is unacceptable and demands a swift and thorough investigation.'

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough is facing questions about problems at a South Florida VA hospital after a homicide this month.

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio teamed up with Rep. Brian Mast on a letter spotlighting a tragedy on March 16, in which “a deceased patient in the acute mental health unit, coupled with the charge of first-degree murder against another patient within the facility, is a stark reminder of the urgent need for accountability and reform within our VA system.”

33-year-old Christopher Schweikart is being charged with first-degree murder, accused of killing his roommate by strangulation in a bathroom of the facility.

“It is profoundly troubling that such a tragic event could occur within the walls of a facility meant to provide care and support to our nation’s veterans. The loss of life under these circumstances is unacceptable and demands a swift and thorough investigation. We urge the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide all necessary resources to the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) ongoing investigation into this matter and to ensure that justice is served for the victim and their family,” the Florida Republicans write.

The shocking incident didn’t happen in a vacuum, however.

As Scott and his co-correspondents note, “significant issues resulting from the mismanagement of the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center” abound.

“We have previously written to you regarding our concern with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rating for this facility, as well as the Bay Pines facility, of one out of five stars, the lowest possible.”

“The report showed that only 28% of veterans received appropriate care for severe sepsis compared to a national average of 60% of patients, that 86% of veterans received proper follow up to colonoscopies compared to the national average of 92%, that central-line-associated infections in the ICU were three times the national average and the readmission rate for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients was 26% higher than the national average,” the Republicans continue.

“To be one of only nine one-star VA facilities in the country, reflects a systemic failure in management and oversight within this facility. Our Florida veterans, who have bravely put their lives on the line in service to our nation, deserve so much better than inadequate care and failing facilities.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • MH/Duuuval

    March 23, 2024 at 1:25 pm

    The VA killer is a nut. That said, the VA remains problematic. Funding seems to be a perennial problem.

    Mast is a member of the House majority and should be able to start an investigation on Monday.

    Rick, on the other hand, knows little about health care except how to skim off profits illegally.

    • Biscuit

      March 23, 2024 at 2:43 pm

      Rick could skim profits from the VA, then donate it back by having a wing named after him: The Senator Rick Scott’s Mental Illness Ward.

  • TJC

    March 23, 2024 at 2:50 pm

    Ah, yes, it’s a big election year, so it’s time to start yammering about the health care of our veterans, a suddenly hot subject that always slips to the back burner after elections take place.
    As for the health care of other citizens, well, not so much yammering other than promises to destroy Obamacare.
    Leadership, Florida style.

  • Meghaan

    March 23, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    Rick Scott and Marco Rubio are jokes when it comes to veterans’ affairs. Unless they can line their pockets even more, or grab a vote, the VA means nothing to them.

  • Hs

    March 23, 2024 at 8:44 pm


  • Angel M

    March 23, 2024 at 9:35 pm

    As a current veteran and former employee of the West Palm Beach VA, I have witnessed firsthand the concerning lack of accountability and transparency within the organization. Despite numerous calls for change, the same issues persist, leading me to believe that true reform is not a priority for the leadership at the VA.

    One of the most troubling aspects of my experience at the VA was the pervasive culture of cover-ups and lack of accountability. Time and time again, I witnessed instances of misconduct being swept under the rug, with little to no repercussions for those involved. This not only erodes trust within the organization, but also undermines the quality of care that our veterans deserve.

    Additionally, the issue of stealing of leave among employees was rampant. This not only creates a toxic work environment, but also impacts the ability of the VA to provide timely and effective care to our veterans. It is disheartening to see such unethical behavior go unchecked.

    Furthermore, the lack of security measures in place at the VA puts both employees and veterans at risk. Without proper safeguards in place, sensitive information and valuable resources are vulnerable to theft and misuse. This not only compromises the integrity of the organization, but also jeopardizes the safety and well-being of those who rely on the VA for care.

    In order for real change to occur within the VA, there needs to be a concerted effort to address these issues head-on. Leadership must prioritize accountability, transparency, and ethical behavior at all levels of the organization. Only then can we truly honor our commitment to serving those who have sacrificed so much for our country. My own records were exposed and nothing happened. My own life was at risk and they hired that person in my same department so I left. I witnessed people steal time off and nothing happened so when is enough?

  • Liam

    March 23, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    Too much politics involved. The veterans mean nothing to these people. They are out for money and a vote.
    Did any of them even serve in the military??

    Doesn’t matter, the free health care for life.

    I’m finding that the men and women who fight for this country in place we should not be get treated like they are shit.

    I was denied treatment through the VA for about 30 years due to preexisting conditions when I joined. Then all of a sudden in 2019, my insurance refused to cover me because of my military service saying I had to go through the VA. I even had letters from the VA denying coverage due to preexisting mental health conditions. Then BAM I’m fully covered. I to this day have not received any correspondence regarding my care prior to 2019.

    It’s all about money and votes.

  • Manfrex

    March 24, 2024 at 11:18 am

    The only difference between this happening in a VA hospital and in a private sector hospital is that VA hospitals are required by law to report what happens. These horrible events also happen in private sector hospitals on a more regular basis, so where is the congressional outrage there?

  • MH/Duuuval

    March 24, 2024 at 4:06 pm

    Looks like Rick is hitting the sauce — in his case that would be Rogaine.

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 24, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    Yes, people murder people even without the murderer being an illegal immigrant.

    pRick Scott and Little Marco are very confused by this and have no idea how to respond since they are unable to conflate a murder any pet issue of theirs

    Which reminds me, why is nobody complaining that girl that got murdered in Athens GA was in Athens GA? She was not a UGA student. She had no legitimate reason to be in Athens GA but every reason to be in Statesboro GA where she was allegedly enrolled.

    What is it that has a college girl skip classes and spend time elsewhere? Boyfriends.

    She was probably murdered by her boyfriend just like most women who get murdered, but nobody mentions that. They only go on about how her boyfriend didn’t fill out paperwork when he entered the country

Comments are closed.


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