Probe finds Fort Collins VA Staff taught to Falsify Records

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Fort Collins VA 

A recent VA probe found Fort Collins VA staff were taught to falsify appointment records going back at least one year. The goal of the falsifying the records was to make the small staff of doctors appear they were seeing patients within the 14 day timeline requirement.

VHA’s Office of the Medical Inspector evaluated problems with wait times and passed on a copy of their investigation report to USA Today. What coverage of the report left out, like the names of management, I was sure to include at the bottom of this article below.

The report stated, “Many of the (clerks) reported significant stress when trying to explain to veterans why they cannot make earlier appointments for them. By entering (false data), the wait time for that patient appears to be zero days. … The wait times were actually much longer.”

If a clerk at Fort Collins VA allowed an appointment to go beyond 14 days they would go on a “bad boy list.” Scheduling was magically fixed from that point forward until investigators found the records were falsified.

Investigators found that half of the 6000 veteran patient load at Fort Collins VA did not have adequate appointments scheduled. The current crisis is the result of VA reforms in 2013 intended to fix appointment delay problems.

Fort Collins VA is under the management of Cheyenne VA Medical Center health care system. The entire system is lead by Cynthia McCormack, a former head of patient care services at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.

USA Today covered some additional history into how VA was performing in appointment scheduling across the country. According to the USA Today:

The VA in 2013 revamped some of its tracking procedures to better gauge wait times for nearly 100 million medical appointments each year at 151 hospitals and 820 clinics.

The agency found that only 41% of new VA medical patients were seen within 14 days last year, down from 90% reported in 2012 under an old, now-abandoned measurement method.

The VA found it wasn’t doing so well with first-time mental health appointments, either. The agency reported in 2011 that 95% of new mental health patients were seen within 14 days, but the new tracking system found the rate in 2013 was 66%.

USA Today left out the names of the leadership staff responsible for overseeing the Fort Collins VA at the main Cheyenne VA Health Care System. I found some of the names on VA’s website and then the remainder of the names from an additional source that I will keep confidential for now.  Here is the VISN 19 – Rocky Mountain Health Care Network.

Cheyenne VA Medical Center Leadership

Cynthia McCormack, RN, PhD. | Medical Center Director

307.778.7300

Cynthia McCormack was appointed Director, Cheyenne VA Medical Center on August 16, 2010. Prior to this tour Dr. McCormack served as the Associate Director for Patient Care Services, at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (VAHCS) in Phoenix, Arizona. She was responsible for direct patient care and support services for Chaplains, Clinical Informatics, Nursing, Nutrition, Hospitality and Food, Social Work, Sterilization, Processing and Disinfection, and Voluntary Services. Previous assignments at Phoenix included Acting Associate Director and Associate Chief of Staff/Inpatient Care Services.

Joining the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1985, Dr. McCormack holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mount Marty College, Yankton, SD, a Master of Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and a Doctorate in Human Services with a focus in Healthcare Administration from Capella University, Minneapolis, MN. She is a certified VHA mentor at the fellow level.

Paul L. Roberts | Medical Center Associate Director

307.778.7564

Paul L. Roberts is an executive leader of Tertiary Care, Acute Care and Critical Access Hospitals. Mr. Roberts has a background in Federal healthcare operations (Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs), hospital operations, strategic planning, transition planning, program management, Physician network development.

Paul Roberts received his degree from Baylor University.

Jerry Zang, MD | Chief of Staff

307.778.7307

Dr. Jerry Zang is an internist in Cheyenne, Wyoming and is affiliated with Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Zang received his medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Kentucky and has been in practice for 23 years.

Dr. Jerry Zang is one of 14 doctors at Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center who specialize in Internal Medicine.

Polly A. Baird, RN, PhD | Associate Director, Patient Care Service Line / Nurse Executive

307.778.7550 ext. 7316

Frank W. Trejo | EEO Program Manager

307.778.7550 ext. 7930

 

Additional Cheyenne VA / VISN 19 Leadership

Theresa Garduno: Chief, Business Office

Cheryl Koski, RN: Chief, Center for Employee Development

Sylvie Rupp: Chief, Environment of Care Service

Kay Peterson: Chief, Human Resources

Andrew Ruben: Public Affairs Officer

Lisa Adamson, RN: Chief, Quality Management

 

Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/04/va-healthcare-delays-treatment-phoenix-cheyenne-deaths/8602117/

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Well I can prove in black and white the VA is intentianaly denying claims by backdating evidence so as to consider it not good and that they contradict themselves when it comes to deciding claims. they intentianaly do whatever they can to denie a claim regardless of evidence summited. example: my treating physcologist who is a md did a PTSD questioner in july 16th 2012 but on july 8th 2013 the va denied my claim even after verifying my stressers but said they recieved the PTSD questnar on may 22 1012 wich made it to old to be considered and had to be redone. that’s the reason they made me go to a C&P exam but that lasted 13 minutes after the examiner was 40 minutes late for my appointment and never looked at my records from tampa VA and the the examiner 2 days later summited a 65 page report. tell me whats wrong with this. the regional office in st Petersburg fl is denieng claims at a alarming rate out of Gainsville florida. last year alone 22000 vets died before there claims were ever decided, that’s 1833 a month. Ill be dead before all my appeals are done.

    • I know exactly what you are talking about. I have been fighting the VA for almost 6 yrs. now trying to get an increase. I have the medical evidence in black and white that shows my condition has worsened and fits in with what they determined will get a higher rating and I have been denied. The strange thing is that I tried to get an increase on both knees and they only looked at the left and denied the left and did not include the right for anything.. I am working on getting a lawyer as I know this is wrong. They have twisted the wording to be in their favor and state that my disability is for the things that they just found in my recent exam they sent me to. How can that be. They are playing games and I will win this game. I wouldn’t have fought this this long if I didn’t know my condition has worsened. The VFW, who went with me to the BVA is now ignoring my calls to them after they stated they would help me. I am so sick of the VA and their tricks and lies. WE (us vets and others that care about us) need to find a way to band together and pull this system down and rebuild it the right way. I wish I knew how and what to do because I would love to have all the other vets get what they actually deserve. It makes me sad to think that our Government thinks that little of us to do this to us. We were willing to put our lives on the line for our country and some have gave the biggest sacrifice of all, and we still get treated worse that people on welfare. So wrong. Hopefully the things coming to the light will make some changes but I am not going to hold my breath (I know I would pass out before something actually happens). I am in for doing what I can to help my fellow vets get what they deserve.

      • to the one who replied to my post about VA denying claims , please contact me at 352-503-2569. I read your reply and your right we do need to do something. Theres a lot you don’t know

    • Its not just gainensville. Tampa has “doctors” writing false statements similar to yours. I have already contacted one congress member 3x over this and have reached out to 2 senators.

      • good luck with that ,I have already contacted congressman and others and all I get is nothing. they don’t give a crap about us only when it comes to there kids being treated the same and that will never happen . I go to tampa as well but the Gainsville C&P clinic is the biggest piece of crap I ever saw. the Va ensures doctors and other examiners do what looks like a good job but in reality its all in favor of the Va and the regional office controls everything. now is the time for the veterans to contact CNN on the claims and C&P exams by the VA as thy investigate the deaths waiting for appointments so CNN can find out how many veterans died waiting for there claims. I already sent a email to CNN but more are needed as to show the real problem with St Petersburg claim process.

  2. i waiting on apointment right now 23 day but the hurting in my side has been going on sinch 7 of Aprial they did see me again on the 30 of Aprial an still dont no what rong an now they going to se me on the 23 of may still hurting

  3. And what is this 14 day stuff? I’d be ecstatic to be seen within the MONTH. I’ve been a healthcare patient at the VA for four years now, and ever since then, our appointments have been 3 months out, minimum. I don’t even have a VA doctor right now; the old one left and they are training a new one and so I couldn’t set a proper “appointment” with someone if I wanted to.

    Oh and, I set an appointment with the optometrist. That was five months ago. She scheduled me for FIVE MONTHS out.

    • Now that it shows the VA cooks the books or numbers however you want to put it, what about how they cook the claims, just maybe there doing the same thing in thar aspect considering the thousands of veterans that die each year before there claim is decided.
      I truly believe the VA has a system in place to ensure they can denie claims and can prove in black and whit at the very least how they backdate evidence to make it look to old so they can use only the C&P examiner opinion which is mostly in favor of the VA not to mention how they ignore the evidence. when and how is it were evidence in a claim becomes to old. I have never heard that evidence in a case being too old criminal or civil. If the VA is doing things like in Housten,Wyoming and other places what makes anyon think there not doing the same thing when it comes to claims. .

      • YES, they can do that. I have the papers to prove that. I am currently at 10% on each knee and asked for and increase. almost 6 yrs. later they have denied and the reason this time is that my knee extension has to be limited to more than 14 degrees (they are now stating that I am rated for limitation of 10%). The only problem with this is that my extension has NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER been more than 5% and was usually at full extension. So they have used my last exam they sent me to and the Dr. found a limitation of 10 degrees. This should have been an increase of 10% but they turned the results around to their benefit. The exam found arthritis in my left knee and they state that I have to have it in both knees to get a 20% increase. Wrong, in the DC codes (DC 5003),if I have X-Ray evidence of arthritis in a major joint and it falls in a certain DC code area then it is rated at 10% no matter what and then it will go to 20% if found in both knees (which it was a yr. ago) and never looked at again. They didn’t look at that one so I can use it against them. I’m going to get a lawyer to fight this because they are not going to get over on me. I don’t care if I don’t get a dime in back pay as long as I win and get the increase I am due. There is more on the exam report than this that was ignored and shouldn’t have been. I wouldn’t have fought this this long if I didn’t know I have gotten worse. As I keep saying, They are nothing but a bunch of crooks, liars, cheaters, and money hungry. They want to get their checks and get their bonuses for doing such a “great” job. BS.

      • to BSI agree with you hold heartedly and you should continue to fight. I wonder how many claims they cooked like the appointments and what the real number is how many veterans died waiting for there claims or appeals to be decided. It pisses me off how our government is more worried about people in other countries and not its veterans the way they let the VA do what they do and how many times has the VA been caught lying.the problem is they need to look deeper into the Va and find the ones who are really calling the shots.

  4. Remember. They shut down vamc fort Lyon in colorado. What did they do with all the employees that worked there !

    They were sent all over colorado and Wyoming !

    Why did they close fort Lyon anyway. Because of the management and where are they now. !

    Their running clinics and have not stopped their bad behavior. !

    Seen it first hand. These people will do whatever they need to to punish anyone that crosses them and that includes veterans. !

    When they closed fort Lyon because management was so bad.

    They were paying out so much money to employees for being retaliated against. !

    It was cheaper just to shut it down. !

    That was not the answer. As They just spread the cancer to other facilities. !

    Management. Is the problem. !

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