The VA will have to answer more tough questions. Today, one of its senior procurement officers accused the agency of a lack of oversight and even fraud, resulting in millions of dollars of waste.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)JAN FRYE: Before I go further, I want to assure you I do not enjoy being a whistleblower. I am not a disgruntled VA senior executive.MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:That was Jan Frye in front of a House panel. He says the fraud and abuse at the VA involves more than $5 billion in spending each year without the necessary contracts. NPR’s Tom Bowman has more.TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Jan Frye is a bull-like man, a retired army colonel. He spoke in rapid-fire delivery before a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee, challenging the VA officials who sat right next to him.(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)FRYE: I can state without reservation that the VA has and continues to waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices for goods and services due to breaches of federal procurement laws.BOWMAN: Frye said that for years VA employees have failed to engage in required competitive bids or sign contracts that would control costs for supplies in health care services.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk, according to an internal memo written by the agency’s senior official for procurement.In a 35-page document addressed to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the official accuses other agency leaders of “gross mismanagement” and making a “mockery” of federal acquisition laws that require competitive bidding and proper contracts.Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, describes a culture of “lawlessness and chaos” at the Veterans Health Administration, the massive health-care system for 8.7 million veterans.
A former federal employee admitted embezzling about $150,000 from a Veterans Affairs retail store and blowing the cash on strippers, prostitutes and gambling sprees, the Justice Department said Tuesday. Glenn Alan Bates, 57, of Saline schemed to steal money from a VA retail store — or canteen — he managed in Ann Arbor, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. Bates, who was released on $10,000 unsecured bond Tuesday, told investigators he spent some of the cash on a stripper named “Ashley” at an Ohio strip club, according to court records. He said he often spent $500 a night on lap dances — and more. “After visiting the club numerous times, Glenn Alan Bates convinced Ashley to come to his hotel room for sex, for which he paid her,” VA Special Agent Frederick Lane wrote in a court filing. The hotel trysts were frequent and non-exclusive. Bates said he also met with other strippers and prostitutes, according to court records. “Glenn Alan Bates stated he became addicted to the sexual encounters and he stole cash from the canteen to pay for this addiction,” Lane wrote.
he Department of Veterans Affairs has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk, according to an internal memo written by the agency’s senior official for procurement.In a 35-page document addressed to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the official accuses other agency leaders of “gross mismanagement” and making a “mockery” of federal acquisition laws that require competitive bidding and proper contracts.Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, describes a culture of “lawlessness and chaos” at the Veterans Health Administration, the massive health-care system for 8.7 million veterans
Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered “candy man” overprescription of opiates at a VA hospital in Tomah, Wis. Allegations of using cheaper drugs at the 40-bed Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Beckley, W.Va., surfaced last year, triggering an internal investigation by the agency’s Office of the Medical Inspector. That probe found that the hospital pharmacy encouraged the use of alternative anti-psychotic drugs because they were cheaper, an action that “may have constituted a substantial and specific danger to public heath,” the medical inspector report said. Doctors followed that guidance despite knowing the alternative medications cause weight gain and sedation, the report said. The medical inspector recommended a clinical review to determine whether any veterans were harmed by the practice.
Seven disabled veterans have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs, claiming they have been waiting for their medical records for 10 months to more than two years, potentially delaying crucial benefits.The suit was filed Monday by the National Veterans Legal Services Program on behalf of the veterans, who come from across the country. Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit asks that the VA produce the plaintiffs’ records within 20 days.Bart Stichman, co-executive director of National Veterans Legal Services Program, said he thinks the problem is widespread and that many veterans get frustrated by the delays and give up, never getting their benefits.“There’s no good reason to me,” he said. “How hard is it to photocopy a file?”The plaintiffs need their files to apply for further compensation. Five believe they are eligible for Combat-Related Special Compensation, which is a monthly payment for military retirees with combat-related disabilities. Veterans need their medical records to file for disability benefits and to appeal benefits decisions.“This delay is preventing me from applying for benefits that would help me to live a better life,” plaintiff Juan Rodriguez said in a statement released through the Legal Services Program.VA officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.The VA has been embroiled in a yearlong scandal that cost former secretary Eric Shinseki his job, and some lawmakers and veterans advocates are frustrated by the pace of change at the agency. Even now, VA whistleblowers say they continue to face retaliation and new controversies regularly pop up, including a recently released VA Inspector General’s investigation into the Philadelphia VA Medical Center that showed employees were keeping mail from veterans for years without a response, potentially delaying their benefits.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it easier for people to sue the federal government for negligence, in a decision that could affect military veterans with claims of medical malpractice.
The justices, voting 5-4, ruled in two cases the deadlines for filing such lawsuits can be extended if plaintiffs tried their best to comply or simply failed to learn about important information before a deadline.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion that combined the cases and upheld rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said the deadlines were somewhat flexible under the federal law that deals with lawsuits against the government.
The Obama administration argued that Congress intended the deadlines to be firm and that the government should not leave itself open to old claims indefinitely.
The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs was hit with a lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of seven veterans who allege they have waited more than two years for military medical records they need to file for disability benefits.
The veterans served in the Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines, and are from Florida, Kentucky, Colorado, Virginia and Wyoming. The soldiers allege the VA flat out ignored their repeated requests for their own military medical records, in violation of the law.
“Although the requests were made as long as 26 months ago, the VA has neither produced the requested documents nor denied the requests,” according to their lawsuit.
The watchdog group Public Citizen and the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) are assisting the soldiers with their suit. A spokesperson for the VA told FOXBusiness.com via email it “ has not been served with a copy of the complaint. As a result, we cannot comm