A bipartisan bill that could enable VA patients to easily access and share their health data with relevant providers is under fire by VA. VA Undersecretary for Benefits Paul Lawrence has testified against this legislation before Congress.

Today, we will be looking at the reasons he gave. This bill, called the Modernization of Medical Records Access for Veterans Act of 2017, could easily be revised to support the caveats Lawrence expresses.  

First of all, the bill suggests a specific and separate technological device, perhaps about the size of a credit card, that a patient could carry and refer to for data access. Lawrence believes that introducing an additional device into patients’ lives would be inconvenient and confusing.

Changing the “device” to a mobile app, at least in the context of getting legislation passed, would not be difficult. In practice, it would likely be less expensive than trying to engineer, patent, and mass-produce these devices as well. But, it could raise possible privacy issues.

This writer’s conclusion?

Privacy concerns reasonable point of order, but not one that trashes the entire bill. There is not sufficient objection here to render the proposed legislation unworkable.

Lawrence continued that he did not believe such a device would be effective, and it has not been part of VA policy in the past.

“We do not believe that this approach would add significant value beyond our current efforts,” he explained.

Sorry. When was the last time VA gave anyone their own medical records without kicking and screaming?

Worth noting: any person who actually wants to help people, but would prefer a different approach, would stop at “I prefer a different approach” before venturing into the territory of “we have helped enough already.”

That is not what helpful people say. That is the dead giveaway that these “concerns” are actually deliberate roadblocks and distractions.

If you had a choice between either of these options, which would YOU choose? A device, an app, both, or neither? Since, apparently, no one has asked us, I will take it upon myself to ask. Sound off in the comment section!

Source: https://patientengagementhit.com/news/va-testimony-objects-to-bill-to-pilot-patient-data-access-device

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46 Comments

  1. Because they have a lot to hide! Like falsifying veterans records, lying on veterans records, they do not want this revealed. Just do what I already when the VA refused to send my husbands records to a private doctor. I overrode them and downloaded the entire medical file to a flash drive.

  2. Vietnam veteran files federal lawsuit against Louisiana VA office director
    Leigh Guidry, Lafayette Daily Advertiser Published 5:22 p.m. CT Aug. 17, 2018

    “A veteran in Lake Charles filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisiana Veterans Affairs regional office director.

    George Jackson, 76, lives in Lake Charles with his wife, Helene. On Thursday, she and a veterans advocate went to the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana to file the lawsuit against Mark Bologna.”

    “Jackson is considered tetraplegic, having lost the use of his limbs. He can still move them slightly but he has no strength. He splits his time between a hospital bed in his home and his electric wheelchair.”

    “The Lake Charles native served 30 years in the U.S. Navy, climbing ladders, crouching, lifting heavy things and performing other jobs on ships. He was aboard wooden ships used to sweep rivers for mines during two tours in Vietnam.”

    “When he was 49, he went before a Navy medical board because his back and leg pain was getting so bad. An exam and X-rays found degenerative disc disease changes at multiple vertebrae.

    They ordered he be placed on “light duty” and go to physical therapy. A year later, he was back before a medical board again, and they found the same thing — severe degenerative disc disease and abnormal narrowing of the spine.

    Both boards declared Jackson was handicapped and unable to perform the duties of his rate, or job in the military. They recommended he go before a physical evaluation board for final judgment.

    But rather than a medical or disability discharge, Jackson was given an honorable discharge and started retirement in 1993.”

    “The defendant named in the suit, Bologna, has been director of the Veterans Affairs Regional Office in New Orleans since 2011.

    The suit claims he is “the sole person responsible for the violation” of Jackson’s rights.

    The suit asks the court order Bologna to pay Jackson $50,000 in monetary damages and $100,000 in a punitive award.

    “The purpose of this suit is to have some accountability for directors (for VA offices) for every state for violating veterans’ rights,” Labbe said.

    The suit alleges that Bologna and the VA violated Jackson’s rights by delaying the process and eventually denying the veteran’s request for disability pay, despite his service in combat and medical records.”

    “A law states “any veteran who engaged in combat… the Secretary shall accept as sufficient proof of service-connection of any disease or injury alleged to have incurred in or aggravated by such service satisfactory lay or other evidence of … shall resolve every reasonable doubt in favor of the veteran.”

    “Director Bologna violated this right, which mandates award even if there were no service medical records to support my claim,” the suit reads. “He deliberately violated this right despite” having VA and service forms and medical records.

    Jackson’s request was denied at first and later awarded at 10 percent — the additional $130 a month he’s getting now.

    The suit also alleges the VA violated Jackson’s constitutional rights by directing its sub-contractors to not release veterans medical records to them.”

    Full Article At: “https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2018/08/17/vietnam-veteran-files-federal-lawsuit-against-louisiana-va-office-director/1000004002/”

    • “Update set on misdiagnosed cases 23-county VA system is reviewing over 30,000 test samples”
      By Doug Thompson, Northwest Arkansas Gazette, Posted: August 20, 2018 at 3:27 a.m.

      “FAYETTEVILLE — The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks will host another town-hall-style meeting today in its ongoing review of missed diagnoses that proved fatal to at least one patient.

      Kelvin L. Parks, interim medical center director, said at the first town-hall meeting July 9 that about 2,500 cases had been reviewed so far. Every case will be reviewed by a pathologist from outside the Fayetteville-based system, he said. The review was expected to take at least six more months, attendees were told.

      The Fayetteville-based system has signed a contract with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to independently review cases, sending pathologists to work full time on the matter, system spokesman Wanda Shull confirmed Friday. At least one more contract with a university-based system is under legal review, she said.

      The review began after administrators discovered a pathologist at the system’s hospital in Fayetteville had tested samples while impaired, administrators said at a June 18 news conference. The pathologist, Dr. Robert Morris Levy of Fayetteville, denies he worked impaired. Seven misdiagnosed cases were found in the review, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administrators.

      The cases under review are prioritized by risk, Parks told the crowd. Tests for the most serious possible diagnoses, such as prostate biopsies for cancer, will be reviewed first, he said. Other risky conditions earmarked for priority are CT-guided needle biopsies, breast biopsies and endoscopies.

      A number of pathologists from outside the Veterans Department have volunteered their time to conduct reviews so far, Parks said in the July meeting. He did not disclose how many. Bringing UAMS pathologists and others into a full-time review will speed the process up considerably, he said.

      Levy was fired in April, according to administrators. He had been suspended in March 2016 for being impaired, but he returned to work that October after counseling and after a check of his work found no errors at the time.

      Levy was again taken off clinical work in October 2017 after what the hospital described as a second instance of working while impaired. His dismissal in April came after a personnel review.

      All 19,794 veterans or family members whose cases were handled by Levy were sent letters that a review is underway, according to Parks. More than one test was performed on some of the patients, requiring review of more than 30,000 samples.”

      Full Article At: “https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2018/aug/20/update-set-on-misdiagnosed-cases-201808/”

      • Disabled Veterans Picked Up A Major Travel Benefit In The Latest Defense Bill
        By Jared Keller
        on August 15, 2018

        Buried in the $717 billion National Defense Authorization Act is a fantastic measure for disabled veterans: easier access to military flights as an escape from the horror of commercial air travel.

        Under the Disabled Veterans Access to Space-A Travel Act, veterans with a service-connected, permanent disability rating of 100% can hop on any scheduled or unscheduled military flight within the continental United States (and scheduled overseas flights) operated by Air Mobility Command “as such transportation is provided to members of the armed forces entitled to retired or retainer pay.”

        The legislation was introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee vice chairman and Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis way back in 2016 and eventually merged with the fiscal 2019 NDAA that President Donald Trump signed into law on Monday.

        “Disabled veterans who have a service-connected permanent disability rated as 100 percent cannot travel on military flights unless they are military retirees,” Bilirakis’ office said of the legislation at the time. “This bill would authorize veterans who have a service-connected, permanent disability rated as 100 percent to travel on Space-A at no additional cost to the Department of Defense and without aircraft modifications.””

  3. Both.
    Then write a bill that authorizes us to get care at any hospital we see fit without waiting on a paper authorization. that includes all the contracted neurosurgical clinics that denied me care (even though I was going pay out of pocket) because: “if we help you, we would lose our contract with the VA.”

  4. modernization would require that people working for the VA have the intelligence to use this technology. As it stands right now, the majority of employees have problems doing the job they were hired to do

  5. In my opinion, it would be important to actually read the linked article in it’s entirety before making a statement about the technology choices mentioned in today’s installment. This Editorial Staff writer is leaving out valuable information from that linked article while making what is in my opinion, a biased topic to instigate a futile debate.

    • Yep

      Also note that there is not enough info in the original article it is linked to. Not enough information provided for a Veteran to form an opinion on the subject.

      Another concern is that the article is published on the website patientengagementhit dot com which one in a series of websites owned by Xtelligent media llc. All just one hit wonders with very few articles written to publish one bias side.

      In other words just another Dem site looking to promote dissent among Veterans without giving the big picture or the real news on the subject.

      • I second that “yep” and fake news. More circus maximus and pin-ball machinery. Will it be like the failed in many ways ‘electronic medical file transfers’ that claimed would link it all together for VA to civvy use so by the time the ambulance picked us up and by the time they’d make it to the emergency room they would already have our needs and files ready and all for treatment? All I’ve seen is BS, withholding med files, fake to lying documents so far (all seemingly legal or above laws). Still no medical care the system is so corrupted and protective of it’s own.

        “Modernization of Medical Records Access for Veterans Act of 2017”
        Wont affect me either way… no going back to the VA, period. Not much good with civilian care due to all the covering-up and retaliation too.

        How many years have we heard about “modernization,” “fixes,” “mergers,” or all those privacy issues. Especially since I’ve been told more than once by many.. “don’t expect much privacy in this day and age.” So activist, union scum, any sort of staff can spread info all over the place to do whatever it is to pacify their end game. Like ‘Identity politics” in health care, system failures, coding errors, lost in the systems, to covering their own asses, etc.

        Hell. where’s that ‘all knowing’ chip at they want to stick in everybody plus the red star proof of residency or U.S citizenship that should already be in our files for VA or civvy use? Or installed in our specific individualized cell phones for all needs of life. That simple issue still needs verified or is at question at some of our ages? Or track us “domestic terrorist” (as listed) like they’re doing with license plates and such today.

        OT but good. Sheryl Attkisson on TBI, head trauma, findings, etc. Caution: Has a few snippets of explosive combat scenes.
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-KfyjVOOGY&feature=em-uploademail”

    • @ Seymore Klearly,
      In your post about the 100% disabled veterans travel, the last paragraph is rather confusing. Is this veterans benefit extended to all 100%ers or just those of retired status? I ask because I also see this as an enormous segregation in the medical care provided to veterans.

      • @ Rosie, Last I Read and Heard from an Airforce Sergeant in Arizona, that (ANY) 100%er Disabled Vet can Travel on a Hop. Also, it’s only to US and US Territories Only, Guam, PR. His Comment was confusing to me also, btw this is an Independent Comment lol so it’s not biased in no shape and form like general info is these days. smfh…

      • Rosie,

        Here is a link to the article on Task and Purpose. It seems that any Veteran who is now 100% disabled is able.

        “https://taskandpurpose.com/disabled-veterans-space-available-travel/”

        A little more info from some of the comments on Reddit which also includes some concerns on the program is also at:

        “https://www.reddit.com/r/Veterans/comments/97s0ay”/disabled_veterans_picked_up_a_major_travel/”

    • Rosie,
      That was one reason why I didn’t comment today!

      On a side note;
      I’m leaving a disgusting installment of what ESPN did over the weekend!

  6. @ LP,
    Your quoted phrase explains volumes! Would you be comfortable in giving out a bit more details. Are all of the neurosurgical clinics available to you VA contracted? I recall someone pointing out some time ago that a particular specialty in their area was monopolized that way.

    I also looked at some of the clues that a Physician posted on here very recently, where outside care can be available by a subscription type of service, where the patient pays a monthly fee maybe just under $100 after a sign-up fee (Instead of insurance), which gives 24 hour access plus additional full cost fees for the labs, procedures, and many other necessaries. I did notice that some facilities offered accupuncture, some as a stand alone feature. You’ll have to do your own research for your own area. Here is a link that will give you a leg-up to what I am referring to “https://jointhewedge.com/find-a-practice/”. You do not have to join to do the searching! Best to you!

    • @ WyldeChylde,
      In all fairness you aren’t totally wrong! But, I think it is kinda modelled after that ritzy style and geared for more of the average income groups. From what I gleaned, the fees for labs and etc., can usually be reimbursed by any insurance the patient already uses.

      • Yes, select group of people, in this case, subscribers. Yes you are correct it is modelled after the same program for the rich where a doctor will serve a small list of wealthy clientele because that can keep the Dr. comfortable will little fuss or muss. The Concierge model is an accurate depiction of both with the only variable being socioeconomic status. IE for a successful model to work for the poor/middle class then the subscriber base needs to be broader. I think what you will see as the models play out is for the older more experienced doctors to gravitate towards the rich end of the spectrum as the wealthy will not accept being seen by some guy 6 months out of med school. The poor will get the Dr. 6 months out of med school because that guy needs an income immediately. In the end nothing changes because nothing has really changed.

  7. Heck I had a hard time trying to get access or copies of injuries and treated at hospitals no one seems to know how to get those for me or give me information on doing so, I believe that having total access to ones medical records is crucial, in the event you have to move or be in another state or country where you may those records of treatment, medications, and so forth, an app could work just as long there is total and accurate records and obviously password protected

  8. I would think it would make more sense just to integrate it into the VA Hospital ID. issue new ones with a chip. that takes care of the Privacy issue and also just adds extra technology to a card that they use already. anything has to be better than using the FOIA. the VA has to be the only organization that takes over a year to send you your own medical records

    • It’s not the FOIA it’s called HIPAA. The Freedome of Information Act is about getting government documents not your health record, whereas the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act is about health records . If it’s taking you a year to get medical records, either you are requesting them wrong or you’re VA has something wrong with it and is violating HIPAA. Find out how to report such a violation. I suggest going to your local patient advocate, they know how to fight to get things done.

      Your idea about the ID card might sound like “common sense” but knowledge of technology isn’t common. Putting a chip in your ID card is not going to help in this situation. I’m not sure what exactly you expect this chip to do.

  9. @ Angie Davidson,
    Ya see here is the stickler in your suggestion… it is a perfectly sound common sense solution!

    VHA needs to find ways to complicate all things so that they can continue to create more unnrcessary funding needs for all of the autonomously operating VHA facilities that refuse to combine methods of operations that will limit the refilling of the “cookie jar”.

    But, I think it is a great suggestion none the less!
    If it is put into practice it will end up as useless as the purpose behind the info on the “privacy strip” they put on the cards several years ago. Why is that useless you ask, well two reasons come quickly to mind. “They” forgot to install readers for the “privacy strips” at the various stations where privacy would be appreciated and secondly, it is way more entertaining to have the patient voicing every single detail of their identity to everyone within shouting distance of the human asking for it. We’re just last class citizens after all.

    • @ Jason Lingel,
      The points you’ve made about FOIA and HIPAA may well hold true in the real world but, in the VHA bubble they work off of thier own set of rules and in thier own concept of time. There have been many posts here over the years that prove VHA see HIPAA as nothing more than a bunch of insignificant letters.

  10. It sounds to me like the “Undersecretary for Benefits Paul Lawrence” is not well informed in the area that he is supposed to be a professional expert in. An App that can be downloaded and installed on your smartphone, that can have many ways of keeping secure like dual factor authentication by means of sending either email or text a code that can be used in addition to your username and password. Or, like the way it is done in the Northern New England area for those veterans that receive care at TOGUS Regional VA Hospital, where all we had to do was sign an authorization that allows our electronic health record (EHR) to be shared and integrated with the EHR system of all the other hospitals and health care facilities in the region ( they are using EPIC). That way if you needed to be referred to a civilian doctor for any reason, they already have access to what they need to continue your care. Its not that difficult. The only reason for the Undersecretary for Benefits Paul Lawrence to oppose this is for other reason that he obviously does not want to elaborate on, which does NOT have the best interests of veterans in mind… Congress should pin him down on this, and get him to go on record with specific reasons why he would oppose something like this.

  11. As Seth Myers would say… “Really VA? A device would be to costly and confusing….REALLY?” Completely laughable and predictable coming from the VA. I have an approach and a solution that is already in development. People are worried about security and privacy issues? I already have THAT figured out too, and is part of my development. Enginerring and patents worries? I have those as well. Proof of concept you ask? HA! already in the works too. Cost? I can have costs down to a mind boggling 0.99/unit and STILL have the security, privacy, AND portability that this failing VA system cannot achieve bc of the status-quo mentality. I’ve designed a fail-proof technology that will only allow users and medical professionals to access patient data…on a three-tier authentication platform; one for the patient, and two levels of authentication for patient/provider. Nor will access be granted on the transfering of data to an external device – such as a thumb drive. What about data back up, you continue to ask? Well, that’s solved too. If a patient card is lost or stolen, the user can access through a portal and either locate, lock, or wipe the tech so that it is unusable…..all while waiting for a replacement card. AND….while I’m at it, the tech is also self sync’d using cloud tech so that a constant b/u of info is always accurate to the second! So dont give me the standard VA bs of how its “…too confusing..” or that “…things are fine the way they are…” bc it all falls on this 20-year veteran’s “deaf” ears. This tech will be the BEST thing for Vets, their family, care givers and providers alike. Get off your ass VA….stop dragging your heels. And while we’re at it…why don’t you make all non-veteran congressional members PAY for thier medical coverage…instead of using MTFs? I’m SURE alot of $$ will be saved with that approach…and re as erved STRICTLY for AD and retirees awwwww ho have certainly EARNED it on the battlefield….and not behind closed doors hatching schemes to divide this country even more by playing politics.

    • Sounds good to me but some low level IT, at higher levels or working on my own pc is beyond me.

      I simply do not understand how things can be kept private or un-hackable. While hearing experts or those I’ve encountered or know have said it’s near impossible to keep up with hackers or prevent breaches. I really don’t know, really.

      The other issues at hand would be ALL those prying eyes, activist playing ‘identity politics’ like in my area from using our info or spreading info around for some kicks. Or to enlighten us after some meeting or some stinking activist at a hospital or clinic that refuses to give us our own med files to use, but have exclaimed during harassing phone calls that “they know all about us now.” Or heard gossip like a run for office, or “know I am unable to afford” this or that. And hit pretty close to my bank account info too. Like I have anything to hide in the first place. Yes depending on region things can get that ugly in today’s social climate. Especially when those above us all are against us for whatever reason, but they all come out to support the “professionals,’ “their own,” and attackers.

      I don’t know how it is elsewhere but here you have to pass muster and various sorts of investigations for care or meds. We have to sign release forms for:

      1. Pharmacy checks state wide, nationally, and locally. Too see what we have had filled, using, or for MD or drug shopping, phony prescriptions, etc. Many many hands and eyes see this and passed along.

      2. Criminal and background checks or whatever LEOs want. Local, state, federal. More hands and eyes. Who to trust my oh my. With totally corrupt and censor loving LEOs locally and in-state? Oh and just waiting to use their new “Red Flag” laws kinda like what the VA uses…. to flag out files with. More VA to civilian type actions and rules. Say the wrong thing they swat our asses and confiscate whatever they want. Be someone actually threatened, offended, hints… history, jailed, court time, financial ruined.

      3. Credit and insurance checks and releases of information they may claim to need.

      4. Emergency utility services; to be put on a list for using life sustaining medical equipment. To be high on a list for emergency attention and fixes. Here I denied it after years of use due to their change in the agreements and demands. IE, open ended request for all our medical care or needs, no ending dates and along with full medical file releases by MDs or clinics.

      5. All the release forms and agreements we have to sign, or supposed to sign, to have EACH politician, agencies, each office, those “at the top” needed to investigate VA or civilian professional misconduct, threats, abuse, etc. Sign it, bow to them, doesn’t mean shit nothing will happen or justice happen. More eyes and ears to access our info going out to only God knows who.

      6. The insider cliques, thugs, mafias, activist, party activist, families, networks, I have and am dealing with over med files and my foes easily attaining whatever info they want on me, us, or others they dislike for political or their own personal reasons. While most folks out there think, or are led to believe, we can trust everyone out there that has such access to our banking, personal or health care info. Wrong. We are dealing with “deep-state,” totally corrupt, high level, country clubber, “shadow government” to secret society type people of all sorts and kinds. None of the above have no compunction about their crimes, lacks of ethics/oaths, attacks, ignoring any harm done to us, or any evil they may inflict upon any of us who have become their targets for whatever reasons. For some people the ladder rung to the top or fitting in means more than our lives, health care needs or getting needed meds or proper decent health care minus all the BS. All the censoring and attacks on some of us is proof of that.

      Now we can sit back and try to take a wild guess at how many people, cliques, activist, protectors, file manipulators, intentional deletions or meddlers can gain access to our info.

      • T…Every thing is hackable
        NSA Whistleblower William Binney
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3owk7vEEOvs”

      • Oldmarine, another goody. This is one before my sub to the channel.

        Angry Birds too?! Figures.

        I feel like one of those “cast iron targets.”

        This should wake up some naysayers or those who may think all is well and all communities or towns are alike, or we have some kind of Constitutional protections. Easy to connect the dots from ‘the top’ to the very bottom of scum-land like where I live. Connections and networks of evil run deep and very well insulated. Yepper, this is a must watch. Pity he didn’t mention or be specific about how our so-called allied nations are some of our worst enemies our tax dollars supports.

  12. Does anyone remember Alex Meshkin?

    The guy and his brother Shulkin was trying two ways to Sunday to give all Veterans records to. The one with the Russian backing and software support for making their company “Flow Health” to appear bigger than life and reality. The bogus Nass Car Racer and subject of a number of Ben’s articles such as:

    “VA Joins Forces With AI Firm Run By ‘Hall Of Shame’ Former NASCAR Owner
    By Benjamin Krause – December 20, 2016

    “Flow Health Inc Lays Out Sketchy Profit Plan For Veteran Genomic Data”
    By Benjamin Krause – January 26, 2017

    “#VettingFail – Dept Of Veterans Affairs Cancels Deal With Flow Health Inc”
    By Benjamin Krause – December 30, 2016

    “Veterans Affairs Almost Gave Away Veteran MVP Genomic Data To Russian Affiliated Company”
    By Benjamin Krause – April 7, 2017

    “Foreign Google Company To Data Mine Veterans Health Records To Make App”
    By Benjamin Krause – February 26, 2018

    The same guy involved with setting up a number of bogus new webpages to help promote himself and his company as some big growing concern when the only thing the webpages were are click bait backed by click farms to legitimizes the webpage articles for any fool like shulkin to see what he wanted themn to see.

    For example the page at: “https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/flow-health-ceo-ai-innovation-under-trump-and-what-it-means-partner-va”

    The article today is based on the same click farm and click page webdesign as used by the Meshkin brothers. Also it is based on the same tech that the Meshkin Bros were promoting. You know the one where all Veterans records are released to Russian programmers.

    The only problem is they are here on our site trying to convince us that Paul Lawrence is wrong not to do it. How fucked up is that?

  13. This is off subject, only y’all need to see it. Especially if y’all watch ESPN.

    *”https://youtu.be/WuJJ5Bpe5dE”*

    Notice the 20+ year “1st Class Petty Officer” who is wearing “gold rank”!!!

    • Rosie,
      Did you get to see what ESPN did to the Petty Officer who was going to sing the National Anthem!
      Dana Leuoch (sic) of “NRATV” is going to be discussing this”live” at around 5pm today!
      If y’all don’t subscribe to “NRATV” on YouTube, your missing out on some important issues plaguing America!
      They also talk about the VA many times!

  14. “Part of Fresno VA hospital evacuated due to suspicious package. Police say it was a hoax”
    By Lewis Griswold, The Fresno Bee, August 20, 2018 03:54 PM

    “About 40 people were evacuated from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fresno on Monday afternoon because a suspicious package was found outside an outlying building.

    The police bomb squad was called out and a robot was deployed to handle the package and X-ray it.

    Police believe the package was hoax.

    The package was found outside Building 27, which is used for mental health counseling and administration.

    Clinton Avenue was closed between Angus and Fresno Street during the investigation. The road was reopened around 3:50 p.m.

    Full Article At: “https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article217045820.html”

  15. Parking Lot Operator Swindled LA VA Out of At Least $13 Million
    Published at 8:41 AM PDT on Aug 20, 2018

    “A Westside parking lot operator is expected to be sentenced Monday to nearly six years behind bars for swindling the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of at least $13 million and bribing a federal official to keep the long-running scheme secret.

    Richard Scott, 58, of Santa Monica faces a 70-month federal prison term on the conspiracy and wire fraud counts to which he pleaded guilty in May.

    However, the final decision rests with U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner. Scott kept two sets of books to hide revenue from parking lots that his company, Westside Services LLC, operated at the VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles. The lots were used for the hospital as well as UCLA baseball games, events at the Wadsworth and Brentwood theaters, and the PGA golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club.

    Scott’s contract required him to provide the VA with 60 percent of the gross parking revenues from the lots, and he was required to submit annual reports detailing revenue generated by parking fees, as well as improvements and services his company provided that could be used to offset payments the VA, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.”

    Full Article At: “https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Parking-Lot-Operator-Swindled-LA-Veterans-Affairs-13-Million-491267741.html”

  16. VA, Walgreens team to improve care coordination for vets
    By Greg Slabodkin, Published August 20 2018, 7:15am EDT

    “The health system for veterans and one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains are sharing data on prescriptions to improve care for vets.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs and Walgreens have joined forces to better coordinate patient and pharmaceutical care for veterans enrolled in the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system.

    Thanks to the VA-Walgreens data exchange, the agency’s providers are now able to directly view medications prescribed to the VA’s patients by community care providers and filled at pharmacies operated by Walgreens.

    Because many veterans receive care from community care providers, it was difficult for the VA to access the records they needed. Previously, the VA’s providers relied on patients to inform them about medications filled at Walgreens by other providers. Now, however, clinicians have at their disposal patients’ entire medication and immunization histories as a result of this partnership with Walgreens.

    Walgreens is the VA’s latest community healthcare partner to electronically exchange standards-based medical information with the agency. To date, the VA exchanges this kind of information with more than 170 community healthcare partners, representing 22,431 clinics, 1,288 hospitals, 537 Federally Qualified Health Centers, 261 nursing homes, and 8,649 pharmacies—including more than 8,000 Walgreens pharmacies.

    The arrangement with Walgreens “is the first of its kind and it’s a strong collaboration,” said Robert Wilkie, Secretary of the VA. “Partnerships like this will help VA continue to improve the way we care for veterans.””

    Full Article At: “https://www.healthdatamanagement.com/news/va-walgreens-team-to-improve-care-coordination-for-vets”

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