TAMPA, Fla.- Pictures taken inside the James A. Haley VA Center in Tampa show dirt, mold, and out of service elevators. The stepfather of wounded veteran Corey Kent returned to the VA hospital to check out how the facility is running. Dan Ashby says conditions today are better than four years ago, that's when Ashby's pulled his step-son, Corey Kent, out of the Tampa hospital and sent WINK News pictures.
Four years ago, WINK News investigators found dirty and unkept rooms, years after Ashby first blew the whistle on conditions at the Tampa VA, he's returned a number of times to check on promises that VA would make improvements.
"I have to give credit where credit is due, there were some areas where they have done real nice work making updates and changes." Four years after a WINK News investigation uncovered deplorable conditions at the Tampa VA hospital, there's proof, positive change is being made for our veterans.
"If they continue on the same track, that's great, let's keep going that way, let's not fall backwards," said Dan Ashby.
With their cell phone camera, Dan Ashby and an associate took these brand new pictures just today of conditions inside the hospital walls.
"Through links like WINK, we've been able to get the word out more about it," said Ashby.
Ashby says some areas are better, but still, just hours ago, evidence of roof leaks, and years later, mold in the public bathrooms, along with hair and dirt.
"They are working on it, it's a slow process and I completely understand that," Ashby told WINK News.
You can see for your self, peeling paint and broken tiles. Again, the pictures are just hours old and three and a half years after the VA told us this:
"...We're working on upgrading it..."
"It shouldn't be that way, these veterans, men/women put their lives on the line for us."
Ashby's organization has been fighting for better conditions for veterans since his step-son corey kent had a horrific stay at James A. Haley, but says, even today, if he had it to do all over again...
"I still would not put Corey back in there and I don't think he would go back."
WINK News received a statement from James A. Haley VA Hospital saying:
"James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital and clinics strives every day to provide the highest quality 5-star care for our veteran and active duty patients. All facilities undergo multiple internal and external reviews."
Since 2010, the National Coalition for Patriots has made about six surprise visits to the Tampa VA.