New scandal under investigation at Cincinnati VA

Inert white powder discovered in tissue box shuts down VA hospital! Read more about this and other veterans administration medical malpractice on VAmalpractice.info

New scandal under investigation at Cincinnati VA!

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-veterans-investigation-idUSKCN0VM0VJ

Late on Friday, the VA began alerting lawmakers about its new investigation, two congressional sources said on condition of anonymity. The VA told lawmakers the allegations would soon “hit the news” but provided no details.

“So far, the VA has been very cryptic and given my office few details about what’s going on,” said U.S. Representative Luke Messer, an Indiana Republican whose constituents receive care at the hospital.

“Our veterans deserve better,” Messer said in a statement.

Republican presidential candidates, particularly front-runner Donald Trump, have hammered the government over the VA scandal. Six of the Republican White House hopefuls will participate in a televised debate Saturday evening in South Carolina, a state with several military bases and which holds the next Republican nominating contest on Feb. 20.

The scandal also could hurt Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who was the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee during the investigation into the hospital in Phoenix.

“We have a moral obligation to provide for the wounded and ensure that all veterans receive every benefit they have earned and deserve,” Sanders said on Twitter on Saturday.

‘SYSTEMIC PROBLEM’

Scripps’ Washington bureau and WCPO, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, said on Saturday the federal probe was prompted by their four-month investigation into the hospital’s leadership and allegations of conflicts of interest.

The news organizations are planning to publish their report soon.

The VA’s medical inspector began investigating the Cincinnati center on Feb. 9, a department official said, noting the agency also asked its independent Inspector General to launch a separate investigation.

Oversight of the clinic “will be temporarily realigned” to a VA regional office in Pittsburgh, the official said.

The investigation will be a test for VA Secretary Bob McDonald, a former CEO at Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble who was named by Obama to fix the agency’s problems after its former chief, Eric Shinseki, was forced to resign.

The VA’s Inspector General in 2014 found a “systemic problem” with wait lists for care at hospitals around the country.

At the Phoenix hospital, it found 45 cases where “unacceptable and troubling lapses” in care affected veterans, 28 of whom experienced “clinically significant delays” in treatment. Six of those patients died.

Louisiana delegation aims to get VA hospital director fired

http://www.stripes.com/news/us/louisiana-delegation-aims-to-get-va-hospital-director-fired-1.390948

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana’s congressional delegation — with the exception of U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy — issued a strongly worded letter opposing the appointment of an embattled official to oversee veterans hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The delegation asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to rescind the appointment of Skye McDougall and even called her assignment “an insult to Louisiana veterans.”

She has come under fire for her testimony before Congress last year. Critics allege she testified that wait times at VA facilities she oversaw in southern California averaged four days when in fact they were at least 10 times longer.

The letter, dated Jan. 22, was released Wednesday. Mississippi’s delegation made similar objections in December.

McDougall recently took over as the director of the South Central VA Health Care Network, a position overseeing numerous veterans facilities.

“Frankly, her appointment … is an insult to Louisiana veterans,” the letter said.

The letter said that on March 13, 2015, McDougall “lied under oath” when she testified at the House Committee on Veterans Affairs about wait times.

The delegation also said it had concerns that she was assigned to oversee the South Central VA Network only after “stiff Congressional and public opposition” impeded her appointment to head a similar network in the Southwest.

The congressional delegation cited “an extreme backlog” in processing medical claims in the South Central system as a reason to appoint a different director.

“We need an honest, reliable leader to take the helm,” the letter said.

In a statement Wednesday, the VA said it “is in receipt of the letter and will respond to the Congressional members’ offices.”

Cassidy, a Republican senator, didn’t sign the letter because he does not think she should be removed, said Jillian Rogers, a Cassidy spokeswoman. She said in a statement that Cassidy met with McDougall recently and “they had an open and frank discussion.”

She added that the senator “hopes that Ms. McDougall’s forthrightness in their meeting continues as they work together to reform a broken VA system.”

Tomah VA mental health worker charged with exploitation

 

 

http://lacrossetribune.com/jacksoncochronicle/news/local/tomah-va-mental-health-worker-charged-with-exploitation/article_17898eb4-5ef2-584b-908d-56613ebec856.html

Monroe County authorities have charged a mental health worker accused of sexually assaulting patients at the Tomah VA Medical Center with sexual exploitation by a therapist.

Charles W. Davis, a peer support specialist, was arrested earlier

    Charles Davis Tomah  employee arrestedCharles Davis Tomah employee arrested

this month after two female patients accused him of ongoing harassment, exposing himself and receiving oral sex in his office.

Davis, 47, was charged in Monroe County Circuit Court with two counts of sexual exploitation by a therapist, each of which carries a maximum 12-year sentence. He was also charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, a misdemeanor.

According to the criminal complaint, Davis made repeated sexual advances to two patients, including a 26-year-old veteran receiving treatment for past “military sexual trauma.”

She told VA police that Davis called her into his office in December and exposed himself.

A 32-year-old patient said Davis sent her sexually explicit pictures of himself and that she gave him oral sex in his office, according to the complaint.

A former Memphis VA worker and another man will more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to a fraud scheme totaling more than $1 million

http://www.localmemphis.com/news/local-news/men-plead-guilty-to-fraud-at-va-hospital

A former Memphis VA worker and another man will more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to a fraud scheme totaling more than $1 million.

Authorities said the two pocketed the payments for undelivered medical supplies.

When he heard about what one man admitted doing inside these Memphis VA medical center walls, 12-year army veteran David Long did not mince his words.

“Put him on a plane, drop him in a hot zone and see where they come from there,” Long said.

Federal authorities said former Memphis VA employee Andre Reddix defrauded his employer of more than a million bucks between 2007 and 2013.

Officials said Reddix created a fake medical supply company, “White Pharmaceuticals,” with 61-year-old Ronnie White.

Authorities said Reddix and White made more than 300 fake purchase orders for medical supplies which were never delivered to the Memphis VA Medical Center.

The men pleaded guilty last September.

Last month, White was sentenced to 30 months and ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution.

Last Thursday, a judge sentenced Reddix to the same prison time and fine.

Congressional delegation again opposes regional VA leader | KSL.com

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s congressional delegation says it’s still opposing the appointment of an executive to oversee veterans’ hospitals and clinics in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas.The four congressmen and two senators said Friday that they met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald Tuesday. They oppose plans to name Skye McDougall to direct the South Central Veterans Health Care Network. That Jackson-based organization oversees 10 veterans’ hospitals and associated clinics.”We are more convinced than ever that her appointment is a bad decision, and that the secretary and his team’s handling of the issue has made a bad situation worse,” the delegation said Friday in a joint statement. “Although this decision belongs to the Secretary, we are dismayed that he would disregard the unanimous advice of the elected representatives of the people.”In a Dec. 15 letter, the delegation objected to McDougall’s appointment based on her 2015 testimony to a U.S. House committee. They say McDougall testified that wait times at VA facilities she oversaw in Southern California averaged four days, when they were at least 10 times longer.

U.S. Sen. John McCain objected last year to McDougall leading an Arizona-based network for the same reasons.

“It seems that the Department of Veterans Affairs has been ‘hopscotching’ Dr. McDougall around the country — from Southern California to New Mexico and from Arizona to Mississippi — searching for a soft landing for her,” the Mississippi delegation wrote in December. “We are determined to see that her soft landing is not in Mississippi.”

The delegation noted that veterans’ health care in Mississippi has been troubled in recent years. The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson has faced allegations of improper patient care over the past decade, including claims of understaffing, a radiologist who didn’t properly read some X-rays, and dirty medical instruments. Officials there said last year they’ve hired more primary care physicians to improve the speed of care.

Source: Congressional delegation again opposes regional VA leader | KSL.com

Wall Street Journal finds that indifference at the VA is chronic

http://www.wsj.com/articles/chronic-indifference-at-veterans-affairs-1452729105

During his Senate confirmation hearing in July 2014 to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald pledged to “transform” the vast agency. After horrific reports of wait-time manipulation, coverups and even deaths at VA medical facilities across the country, veterans and the American people were calling for honest leadership to restore their trust in the department created to serve them.

Transformation wouldn’t be easy, Mr. McDonald said, but it was “essential.” And “those employees that have violated the trust of the nation and of veterans must be, and will be, held accountable.”

Sixteen months have passed but the VA’s culture of indifference persists, and the climate of accountability Mr. McDonald promised is nowhere in sight.

“Veterans still facing major medical delays at VA hospitals,” read an Oct. 20 CNN article; “VA execs demoted, but get to keep their jobs and fraud money,” reported a Nov. 23 Daily Caller piece. “VA’s own internal probe finds impunity of agency leaders at scanda

Philly VA misconduct cases closed, but lawmakers left with few details – Stripes

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has closed the book on its investigation of misconduct at its Philadelphia regional benefits office, without revealing the names of most of the people involved, what they did wrong or their precise punishment. Though the agency says implicated managers have been removed from decision-making positions, no one associated with the scandals was fired, a VA spokesman confirmed. In April, the VA Inspector General’s Office issued a scathing report documenting systemic manipulation of data and mismanagement at the Philadelphia office, which handles benefits claims for 825,000 veterans in three states. The misconduct covered up a huge backlog of claims, with piles of unprocessed mail, documents and inquiries socked away or destroyed. VA investigators released a second report in May that exposed disturbing misuse of office. It named two managers — Assistant Director Lucy Filipov and Pension Center Manager Gary Hodge — in a bizarre incident in which they coerced subordinates to attend a séance at Filipov’s home and asked them to pay for the medium, who was Hodge’s wife. Both managers were suspended. This week, in the first indication that the VA had concluded its investigations, Hodge and Filipov returned to work in lower positions — Hodge as a claims examiner%2

via Philly VA misconduct cases closed, but lawmakers left with few details – Stripes.

Reps. Gabbard, Guinta Introduce Act to Prevent Unearned VA Bonuses | Maui Now

got bonus? Campaign to end bonuses for VA executives!

US Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Frank Guinta (NH-01) introduced the Veterans Administration Bonus Elimination Act to help ensure timely delivery of care to the country’s military veterans.The bill denies bonuses to senior VA executives who fail to ensure that veterans receive care within 30 days, as required under VA guidelines.“It is unconscionable that senior VA officials are rewarded with bonuses, while hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country are still facing major delays in receiving the care that they need and have earned,” said Rep. Gabbard. “Even after the VA scandal in 2014, veteran wait times have increased. In October 2015, the VA said there were nearly 500,000 veterans who were waiting over 30 days to receive care. The fact that the systemic problems within the VA that created this situation continue to persist is deeply troublesome. Those who are responsible for ensuring our nation’s veterans get the care and services they need should be held accountable, not rewarded for their malpractice. This bill is a step forward in repairing our veterans’ trust.”“Bonuses should be rewards for quality work, completed on time, but revelations of secret waiting lists and subpar care tell a different story about some VA facilities,” said Rep. Frank Guinta. “Even after a nationwide scandal and legislation to fix the problem, securing an appointment remains difficult. The bureaucracy only reluctantly embraces reform. Our bill puts pressure on the VA to meet reasonable goals that Congress instituted by law. We should show the same commitment to US military veterans that they have shown our country.”According to VA guidelines, veterans should wait no more than 30 days for a medical appointment. In 2014, whistleblowers at several VA hospitals revealed that employees often manipulated waiting list data to collect performance bonuses.An internal audit found that over 120,000 vets waited at least 90 days, even after the scandal broke.In Hawaiʻi, veterans experienced the longest wait times in the country, averaging 145 days—almost five months—for a simple primary care visit. That same year, the VA paid $142 million in bonuses, ranging from $500 to $13,000, to employees.As these VA crises unfolded in 2014, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Access to Care and Treatment (ACT) Now for Veterans Act to enable veterans to get immediate care from non-VA medical providers. The congresswoman’s legislation was ultimately included in the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which was signed into law that same year.Rep. Gabbard is a major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard and a veteran of two Middle East deployments. She is a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.Rep. Guinta, Manchester, New Hampshire’s former two-term mayor, is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.MAUI NOW STORY LINK

Source: Reps. Gabbard, Guinta Introduce Act to Prevent Unearned VA Bonuses | Maui Now

Reps. Gabbard, Guinta Introduce Act to Prevent Unearned VA Bonuses | Maui Now

US Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Frank Guinta (NH-01) introduced the Veterans Administration Bonus Elimination Act to help ensure timely delivery of care to the country’s military veterans. The bill denies bonuses to senior VA executives who fail to ensure that veterans receive care within 30 days, as required under VA guidelines. “It is unconscionable that senior VA officials are rewarded with bonuses, while hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country are still facing major delays in receiving the care that they need and have earned,” said Rep. Gabbard. “Even after the VA scandal in 2014, veteran wait times have increased. In October 2015, the VA said there were nearly 500,000 veterans who were waiting over 30 days to receive care. The fact that the systemic problems within the VA that created this situation continue to persist is deeply troublesome. Those who are responsible for ensuring our nation’s veterans get the care and services they need should be held accountable, not rewarded for their malpractice. This bill is a step forward in repairing our veterans’ trust.” “Bonuses should be rewards for quality work, completed on time, but revelations of secret waiting lists and subpar care tell a different story about some VA facilities,” said Rep. Frank Guinta. “Even after a nationwide scandal and legislation to fix the problem, securing an appointment remains difficult. The bureaucracy only reluctantly embraces reform. Our bill puts pressure on the VA to meet reasonable goals that Congress instituted by law. We should show the same commitment to US military veterans that they have shown our country.” According to VA guidelines, veterans should wait no more than 30 days for a medical appointment. In 2014, whistleblowers at several VA hospitals revealed that employees often manipulated waiting list data to collect performance bonuses. An internal audit found that over 120,000 vets waited at least 90 days, even after the scandal broke. In Hawaiʻi, veterans experienced the longest wait times in the country, averaging 145 days—almost five months—for a simple primary care visit. That same year, the VA paid $142 million in bonuses, ranging from $500 to $13,000, to employees. As these VA crises unfolded in 2014, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Access to Care and Treatment (ACT) Now for Veterans Act to enable veterans to get immediate care from non-VA medical providers. The congresswoman’s legislation was ultimately included in the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which was signed into law that same year. Rep. Gabbard is a major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard and a veteran of two Middle East deployments. She is a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. Rep. Guinta, Manchester, New Hampshire’s former two-term mayor, is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. MAUI NOW STORY LINK

Source: Reps. Gabbard, Guinta Introduce Act to Prevent Unearned VA Bonuses | Maui Now

Nurse shortages at VA Medical Center in Martinsburg linked to

The VA Medial Center in Martinsburg (VAMC) is in the midst of a nurse shortage.  “We currently have 345 registered nurses on staff right now. Last fiscal year, we lost 31 nurses, 25 of those for retirees,” said Sandra Sullivan, acting associate director, Patient Care Services, VAMC. Nearly 35,000 veterans from 22 counties within the four-state area  are currently receiving care at the VA. “What I see in our profession is just an aging population,” Sullivan said. Sixty percent of the nurse workforce is between the ages of 45 to 65. Officials at the VA said the nursing shortage was partly caused by baby-boomer aged nurses retiring.  “There are a lot of nurses coming into the field. A lot of nurses stayed in the field, and we’re just seeing a lot of nurses get to the retirement age,” Sullivan said.  Retirement rates have increased from 2.5 percent in 2012, to 7 percent in 2015. Overall, there was a 12.7 percent loss rate that was directly related to retirements.

Source: Nurse shortages at VA Medical Center in Martinsburg linked to