VA Police Officer Who Was Convicted of Armored Car Robberry Loses Appeal-Three Ex-Police Officers Lose Armored Car Robbery Appeal | KUAR
Two U.S. Veterans Affairs officials have retired, three have been reprimanded and others are facing unspecified “actions” following reports of rampant mismanagement and patient deaths at the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur, a top VA official said Wednesday.
“A number of people have had both corrective and administrative action taken,” Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health for the VA, said at a congressional hearing in Atlanta.
“Two people involved in this process have resigned – retired from the VA. There are number of actions, which are still in the process.”
Petzel did not identify the VA officials involved and said he could not offer more specifics. But he said he has shared additional details with the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson led Wednesday’s hearing at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. The panel also heard testimony from the VA Office of Inspector General and was expected to hear from the Georgia National Guard, a veteran with the Wounded Warrior Project and community mental healthcare officials.
Isakson called for the hearing after federal inspectors issued scathing audits about the Atlanta VA Medical Center in April. The audits linked pervasive mismanagement to the deaths of three veterans at the 405-bed hospital.
OOPS..VA misdiagnoses veteran with ALS for 2 1/2 years!
Vietnam War veteran John Williams feared he would be a casualty of war 43 years after he left the service, which included harrowing times in Vietnam.
Williams, 67, was diagnosed with diabetes in 1985 and later experienced progressive difficulty with movement and muscular control, which he said was misdiagnosed as ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
“I had made funeral arrangements and began to get my affairs in order after a Veterans Affairs doctor diagnosed me in October 2010 as having Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Williams said.
But, after learning about the Veterans Administration’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, Williams received a different diagnosis and, more importantly, a sense of hope.
Williams, who lives in southwest Ocala with Marti, his wife of 42 years, learned about the center, which has hospitals in East Orange, N.J.; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.; in the VA’s quarterly publication, “Agent Orange Review.”
The publication is focused on possible victims of Agent Orange who have illnesses such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease and may qualify for VA disability due to exposure to the potent herbicide.
Williams, a native of Waycross, Ga., moved to Starke in 1954. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1969, at age 23. He served on reconnaissance missions with the 4th Infantry Division 717th Recon in Vietnam for a year, beginning in July 1969.
“We were often stationed at forward bases and were subject to rocket attacks,” Williams said.
He said his experiences in war left him with post-traumatic stress disorder and that many of his health issues are from exposure to Agent Orange.
ort Wayne’s VA Hospital responds to Dept. of Veterans Affairs inspection report
Updated: Monday, 05 Aug 2013, 6:35 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 05 Aug 2013, 3:42 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Chief of Staff at the VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System has reviewed the Department of Veterans Affairs inspection of its hospital and it agrees with the findings.
“This was no surprise that at any point for us, meaning we’re identifying these issues and working on these issues,” said Dr. Ajay Dhawan, Fort Wayne’s VA Hospital Chief of Staff.
The Office of Inspector General was called on by Senator Joe Donnelly and Congressman Marlin Stutzman to look into why the hospital suspended inpatient care late last year. Both Donnelly and Stutzman were surprised by the findings and found it “upsetting and inexcusable.”
The inspection found a few critical issues that need to be fixed right away. Some of those issues includes the facility did not effectively and consistently fill upper and mid-level leadership positions. It also found that managers who were in place often did not provide necessary leadership. It also looked at the quality of care given to patients, which was found to be under par.
Dr. Dhawan tells NewsChannel 15 that this report on validates the issues hospital administrators were aware of before the suspension of inpatient care last year. He said administrators have been working to fix these issues since last year, including looking at the level of service it provides in the intensive care unit.
“The answers we might come up with might vary from going to a tri-four level three ICU, to a level four ICU, to no ICU,” said Dr. Dhawan.
Another issue administrators are hammering away at is finding qualified individuals to fill management roles and provide necessary training to their first line staff such as nurses. Dr. Dhawan has been working to fill those positions.
“We’ve had success in finding two additional cardiologists since that time,” he said. “We have hired additional hospitalists; we’ve found some mid-level managers like chief of primary car, chief of medicine that are now on board.”
House Veterans Committee is Coming to Pittsburgh to Examine Preventable Deaths, Accountability at VA! Look out Mr. Moreland,
WASHINGTON, D.C.— On Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. ET at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a field hearing to examine the Department of Veterans Affairs’ approach to stopping preventable patient deaths and lapses in care at VA medical centers around the country.
The Veterans Health Administration provides health care services for some eight million American veterans, but a rash of preventable suicides, veteran deaths and infectious disease outbreaks at several VHA facilities throughout the country has put the organization under intense scrutiny. Despite the fact that multiple VA Inspector General reports have linked a number of veteran deaths to widespread mismanagement at VHA facilities, the department has consistently given executives who presided over these events glowing performance reviews and cash bonuses of up to $63,000.
The purpose of this hearing is to examine whether VA has the proper management and accountability structures in place to stop the emerging pattern of preventable veteran deaths and serious patient-safety issues at VA medical centers across the country. In doing so, the committee will specifically look at VA’s handling of recent events in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Buffalo, N.Y., and Jackson, Miss.
The following event is open to the press:
WHO: House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
WHAT: Hearing: A Matter of Life and Death: Is VA Doing All It Can To Stop Veterans from Dying?
WHEN: 9:00 a.m. ET, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013
WHERE: Allegheny County Courthouse, 436 Grant St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Witnesses and logistical info will be announced at a later date.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – We now know what led to the temporary suspension of Inpatient Care at the Fort Wayne VA Hospital.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General issued a report late last week that found the facility did not effectively and consistently fill upper and mid-level leadership positions, there were lapses in clinical judgment by individual providers, and there was limited compliance in maintaining nurse competencies.
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Managers that were in place often did not provide necessary leadership.
The office selected three patient cases and found that monitoring of vital signs were not being followed resulting in the patient being transferred to non-VA facilities.
The Fort Wayne facility is slowly restoring services as problems are addressed in the report.
The report was commissioned by Senator Joe Donnelly and 3rd District Congressman Marlin Stutzman.
Lawmakers call VA Hospital report findings unacceptable
Updated: Sunday, 04 Aug 2013, 8:37 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 04 Aug 2013, 8:37 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released a report last week which took a close look at services that caused a suspension at Fort Wayne’s VA hospital.
Senator Joe Donnelly and Congressman Marlin Stutzman asked for an inspection after receiving a phone call that the hospital temporarily stopped its inpatient care last year.
” [We were] both stunned by that,” Sen. Donnelly said. “It’s not something we had been kept in the loop on.”
So, the lawmakers demanded answers.
After the results were released, both Donnelly and Stutzman said the findings were unacceptable.
“The VA’s failures, as outlined by the Inspector General’s report, are upsetting and inexcusable,” said Rep. Stutzman.
Likewise, Sen. Donnelly said, “I was outraged that some of our veterans had to be subjected to that.”
Some of the cases outlined in the report include a veteran that was deemed “ready for discharge” while still exhibiting symptoms of having a rapid heart beat. The report states “no cardiology consultation was obtained during the entirety of the hospitalization.”
In another instance, a veteran in his mid-80s with a history of heart disease had been experiencing “shortness of breath and diarrhea of months duration.” He was placed into the Intensive Care Unit after developing a fast and irregular heartbeat. After 24 hours of appearing more alert, he was taken out of ICU. Two days later the veteran died.
The Inspector General’s Office looked over all medical records and nursing documents. It reviewed the quality of care as well as management.
The report showed the hospital didn’t effectively fill upper and mid-level leadership positions which in turn played a role in the hospital’s budget deficits. It was also discovered that the people in those leadership positions were not adequately fulfilling their duties.
The office also questioned some of the clinical judgments made, and it recommended the hospital consider how many services it can reliably provide.
Sen. Donnelly said a new management team has been set in place and that him and Congressman Stutzman won’t accept “nothing less than the very best.”
Senator Donnelly and Representative Stutzman said they will continue working to ensure the hospital makes all of the recommended changes.
ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has confirmed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ top health care executive will testify at a U.S. Senate hearing in Atlanta.
The hearing was sparked by a Channel 2 Action News investigation into a series of patient deaths and other problems at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant has learned that hearing will happen Aug. 7 at the Georgia State University Student Center.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, will chair it. He told Diamant on Friday the public is invited to see top VA leaders on the hot seat. He promised they will not be let off the hook.
Isakson didn’t mince words about his expectations for the rare Senate Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing.
“There is no wiggle room. There is no margin of error. We got to have the facts and nothing but the facts,” Isakson said.
A Channel 2 Action News investigation last April exposed federal reports that blamed mismanagement by Atlanta VA Medical Center leaders for patient deaths, including two suicides, plus security problems, bad patient monitoring and poor oversight of outpatient programs.
As recently as two weeks ago, new hospital director Leslie Wiggins remained emphatic, saying, “I cannot say that I think anyone should be fired.”
So far, only two nameless hospital staffers got a letter of reprimand. Isakson is reserving judgment on firings for now.
“We’re also not out to get a scalp just to say ‘look what we did,'” Isakson said.
On tap to testify are VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel and director Wiggins, plus a long list of Georgia military and medical leaders.
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) — The state has filed charges against a local doctor following a Contact 13 investigation.
As Darcy Spears explains, the doctor is under fire for allowing her assistant to run her medical practice.
What you don’t see at Modern Medical has the state very concerned.
The doctor, they say, is not in.
Dr. Darby Clayson’s name is on the door. She’s listed as the supervising physician. In fact, the only actual doctor on Modern Medical’s staff.
But the state has charged her with failing to do the very job that her title describes.
And it’s an issue Contact 13 first exposed nearly a year and a half ago.
“People come there expecting that there’s a doctor supervising this particular place, and the doctor was nowhere to be found,” said Attorney Easton Harris in February 2012.
Harris represents a group of former Modern Medical employees who are involved in lawsuits with Angie Lorenzo, the physician’s assistant who owns and operates Modern Medical.
She’s not a doctor, but is allowed to practice under a doctor’s supervision.
The state’s six-count complaint against Dr. Clayson includes charges of failure to supervise, malpractice, disrepute and records violations.
“She came in and got Angie once a month and they went to lunch and that was it,” says Lisa Clarke, who worked as a certified medical assistant at Modern Medical for most
“She came in and got Angie once a month and they went to lunch and that was it,” says Lisa Clarke, who worked as a certified medical assistant at Modern Medical for most of 2011.
Clarke’s lawsuit against Lorenzo says Dr. Clayson’s only role was collecting paychecks. In exchange, she allowed Modern Medical to operate under her license.
Lisa: I never saw her in the practice doing any kind of doctor work
Darcy: What interaction with patients did she have?
Lisa: She had absolutely none.
Lorenzo is already facing state charges, which are still pending before the board.
They say her actions should have raised red flags for Dr. Clayson.
We spoke to Lorenzo in July, when she told us, “I’ve always done my best to be a stellar physician’s assistant, to provide the highest quality care and to document appropriately.”
The state says Lorenzo provided improper patient care, including unnecessary medical testing, injections and procedures.
She’s also accused of compromising a patient’s safety by prescribing excessive thyroid hormone.
Certified professional coder Beth Petschauer reviewed more than 300 patient records while contracted with Modern Medical.
“She (Lorenzo) would say the patient is vitamin D deficient, and I would say where’s the lab documentation to support that? And her comment was, well, everybody’s vitamin D deficient.”
The state also says Lorenzo did multiple tests and procedures that were inappropriate for the listed diagnosis, care or treatment.
They found an absence of medical decision making in the records, which they call very hard to follow, even contradictory.
“She would say that the patient denied having malaise and fatigue and then use the diagnosis code for malaise and fatigue,” says Petschauer.
Perhaps most alarming? The state says on multiple occasions, Lorenzo used and dispensed expired medication on patients.
“She put them on discount and charged the patients half of what they normally would have cost and she sold them expired medications and had them injected into the patients,” Clarke says.
State law says as the supervising physician, Dr. Clayson is responsible for Lorenzo’s actions and any violations of the medical practice act.
Lorenzo sent Contact 13 a statement saying, “Dr. Clayson has supervised me within the scope of the law, and continues to be a qualified and caring supervising physician. She has followed the law to the highest extent.”
We spoke to her about Clayson in July.
Darcy: No one who we’ve spoken to has ever seen the doctor whose name is on their bills. Why is that?
Angie: Um, I don’t know. I mean, Dr. Clayson works here. She’s available at the patient’s discretion.
Dr. Clayson wouldn’t go on camera or answer any of our questions.
She sent us a written statement which says in part “In the last four years, I have reviewed her charts, visited the clinic on a regular basis, held regular medical discussions and been available for consultation during clinic hours… I strongly disagree with the charges several patients, employees and the medical board have brought against Ms. Lorenzo and myself. Our only aim has always been to provide compassionate, humanistic, state of the art medical care.”
Dr. Clayson works for the VA Southern Nevada Health System. She’s
currently on staff at the Veterans’ Hospital in North Las Vegas.
State records show in April, she reported a $275,000 settlement from a 2006 case where her “negligence in diagnosis, care and treatment resulted in a patient’s death.”
The board found her guilty of malpractice in that case back in 2011, but all they did was issue a public reprimand and order her to pay investigation costs.
Lisa Clarke hopes something more significant happens in this case.
“I’m glad the board is finally taking action and paying attention because ultimately, the people that are suffering are the patients. And somebody’s got to stop it.”
Dr. Clayson now has a chance to answer the charges and request a hearing. Her response is due to the state board in about two weeks.
Here is the full statement from Angie Lorenzo:
“Dr. Clayson has supervised me within the scope of the law, and continues to be a qualified and caring supervising physician. She has followed the law to the highest extent. She is well educated and is one of the smartest physicians that I know and have worked with. These allegations are not new. They are the same that have surfaced for years due to 2 sets of people: 1. Those that are disgruntled employees, and 2. patients that owe money for medical services rendered.
The issues will continue as long as patients retaliate and extort their medical providers by complaining to regulatory agencies for their gain. The company has to be paid for services rendered. The lies and the accusations must cease!
We are working mothers practicing medicine and do our best, the standard of care is always first and foremost. Patients have success, and no patients have ever had a bad outcome. We deny all allegations. We are confident in a positive resolution.”
Here is the full statement from Dr. Darby Clayson:
“Throughout my training at MIT, Baylor College of Medicine and countless continuing medical education (CME) courses, 20 years of duty in the Air Force, and almost ten years of service for the VA, I have tried to uphold the highest medical standards at all times, while maintaining a caring, humanistic approach that often is so lacking in our medical system.
4 years ago Ms Lorenzo approached me with her idea to start a clinic that was patient focused, inviting and treats the whole patient, not just lab values and disease states. I agreed to supervise her by regularly reviewing her charts and discussing patient care matters. She already had a history of many years of practice without issues and I knew her to be an intelligent, honest medical practitioner. In the last four years, I have reviewed her charts, visited the clinic on a regular basis, held regular medical discussions and been available for consultation during clinic hours.
I strongly disagree with the charges several patients, employees and the medical board have brought against Ms. Lorenzo and myself, and I repeat, our only aim has always been to provide compassionate, humanistic, state of the art medical care.”
A copy of the complaint filed by the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners