Lawmaker criticizes $63K bonus for VA exec in charge of hospital where Legionnaires’ killed 5 – The Washington Post.
WASHINGTON — A House committee chairman renewed his criticism Thursday of the bonuses paid to senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department and called on the VA to recoup a nearly $63,000 bonus given to an official who oversaw a Pittsburgh hospital where an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease killed five veterans.
Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said that giving the government’s top award for its senior professionals to VA regional director Michael Moreland showed there was no limit to the “VA’s tone deafness.” The American Legion also said the award “defies all logic.”
“This is absolutely unbelievable,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement in response to reports of VISN 4 Director Michael Moreland receiving a five-figure Presidential Rank award on the heels of a Legionnaires’ outbreak and other whistleblower retaliation concerns in his region.
“This is absolutely unbelievable. We are truly at a loss as to why the VA continues to reward those in its leadership ranks who clearly are not operating in the best interest of our veterans. The recent VA Office of Inspector General report shows us that leaders within the Pittsburgh VA system, and Director Moreland, knew of the Legionella problem early on and for more than a year didn’t take all of the necessary actions to keep our veterans and hospital employees safe. Why should Mr. Moreland be rewarded for mismanagement?
“We’ve seen this time and time again at the VA; front-line employees are forced to do more with less, while agency executives are pulling in bonuses despite mismanagement, retaliation and intimidation of employees under their watch.
“The Legionnaires’ outbreak is a serious issue and is linked to the death of five of our nation’s heroes. Yet, it didn’t occur to VA leadership that this isn’t the right time to reward folks who seem to have dropped the ball having been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congressional oversight committees and the VA’s own Inspector General. This is a kick in the teeth to the victims’ families and hospital employees who were kept in the dark.
“AFGE renews its call for the removal of Mr. Moreland and urges the VA to take a serious look at its leadership team. As the agency providing world-class care to our vets, we cannot afford to have careerists in leadership positions that lack the skills needed to positively impact the VA workforce and advance the mission of the agency.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia. AFGE’s National Veterans Affairs Council represents 208,000 employees within the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
ndianapolis – Police arrested two employees at the VA Hospital for allegedly dealing and doing heroin at work.
It is certainly not unusual for people to come to Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center to get drugs to make them feel better. It is unusual when the drug they were hoping to acquire was heroin.
“Very rare to see heroin cases. Here you have a situation where it’s being dealt at a hospital to employees of a hospital,” said Carl Brizzi, Marion County prosecutor.
Police arrested Ronald Northington and Douglas Wilkinson and charged them with dealing and possession of a narcotic drug. The two participate in a work-study rehabilitation program at the hospital and are paid for those services.
“We feel very fortunate that the people who were apprehended did not have any patient contact,” said Linda Jeffrey, Roudebush VA Medical Center.
Brizzi says the investigation revealed the heroin pipeline comes from Chicago. Investigators believe a third man, Marcus Harris, brought the drug from Chicago to sell to the other two while he was wearing a home monitoring device.
Tampa, FL – Tampa Police cracked the case after an employee recognized one of the suspects in a bulletin alert.
Tampa Detective Gary Balkcom says the women helped themselves to an elderly man’s money through his debit/credit card.
The first arrest came Saturday evening when police say Maxima Jackson, 22, admitted she used the man’s card. “She got clothes; did ATM withdrawals; paid light bills; bought shoes; filled the car with gas; got cigarettes; got food,” said Balkcom.
Jackson had nothing to say when police walked her out of the station on her way to jail.
The victim in this case lives at the nursing home at the Veterans’ Affairs Hospital in Tampa. He is a 90-year-old veteran who survived six years during World War II, only to be scammed out of thousands of dollars by the very people he was fighting for.
“[The fact that] somebody would go and take their Veterans’ Affairs money that they deserve for whatever injuries they sustained in war, I just find that a very egregious offense,” said Balkcom.
The felony charges reflect that. Jackson is charged with Grand Theft and Exploitation of the Elderly.
Balkcom says Jackson and 40-year-old Deana Coney-Wright stole more than $5,000 from the victim. Since they were using the vet’s pin number for his debit card, detectives say clearly the crooks were close to him.
Two VA employees arrested for fraud scheme
Jun 19, 2012 – 02:39 PM
Two Veterans Affairs employees were arrested at their workplace today following an investigation of more than $100,000 in fraudulent claims in a program designed to reimburse veterans for travel to their medical appointments, according to U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
The two VA employees are accused of recruiting veterans to submit phony vouchers for travel expenses they had not incurred. The VA employees also are accused of processing the vouchers and then demanding kick-backs of the funds the veterans illegally obtained.
According to the complaint filed in the case, Nick B. Hall of of Seattle, Washington and Keishjuan Daniels of Kent worked as travel clerks for the Veterans Health Administration to process veterans’ travel benefit claims. The men were employed at the VA Medical Center on Beacon Hill.
Between January 2011 and May 2012, Hall and Daniels are accused of conspiring with five veterans to submit false travel vouchers for trips from addresses in Eastern Washington and Oregon so that the VA would pay out more than $110,000 in travel claims. In some instances the claims for reimbursement were on dates when no appo
Veterans Affairs Hospital Employee Arrested for Abusing Disabled Victim
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced the arrest of a Palm Beach County man for abusing a disabled victim under his care at a Veterans Affairs Hospital. Ramnarace Singh was arrested this morning by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
The arrest resulted from an investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Patient Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (PANE) team, acting on information received from the Department of Children and Families. Singh, 56, was employed as a mental health technician by the West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Hospital. Investigators learned that Singh struck the victim in the face, then overturned the wheelchair in which the man was seated. The 59-year old victim, who suffers from dementia and stroke-related infirmities, sustained multiple lacerations from the attack, which was witnessed by one of Singh’s fellow employees.
Singh will be charged with one count of abuse of a disabled person, a third-degree felony. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the 15th Judicial Circuit.
via News Release – Veterans Affairs Hospital Employee Arrested for Abusing Disabled Victim.
VA suspends doctor after drug arrest
The Department of Veterans Affairs has suspended the privileges of a Martinez doctor after he was arrested on drug possession charges.
Dr. Martin H. Kata, 54, has been charged with possession of cocaine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. He has also been charged with felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Rollins.
Kata was arrested last week after investigators found crack cocaine in his possession. As authorities tried to arrest him, Kata tried to consume some of the cocaine and struggled with deputies, Rollins said.
Deputies also recovered three oxycodone tablets and 112 hydrocodone tablets that were mixed together in a bottle that was not labeled, Rollins said.
The Augusta VA sent Kata a letter Monday telling him his privileges have been temporarily suspended, VA spokeswoman Rosalie Bell said.
Kata has worked as a primary care physician for the Augusta VA since 1992.