Home VA Healthcare GAO Report Shows Disqualified VA Doctors Hired To Treat Veterans

GAO Report Shows Disqualified VA Doctors Hired To Treat Veterans

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In a new report, GAO impugned the quality and safety of VA health care revealing the agency hired unqualified doctors to treat veterans.

The watchdog agency, Government Accounting Office (GAO) has called on VA to tighten up its credentialing. GOA’s audit of the agency found multiple instances where veterans received medical services from 57 disqualified providers who were disqualified from providing care to patients.

“VHA facilities did not consistently adhere to policies regarding providers with adverse actions,” GAO said in its report. That report was delivered to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

The report hones in on one massive failure within the agency that has plagued its hiring and credentialing of clinicians for years – – staff responsible for credentialing are not provided mandatory training focused on credentialing.

Seems like an obvious issue given the history of problems VA continues to struggle with within its audits and various investigations by the press.

FierceHealthcare, a government-centric publication, highlighted a few examples from the report worth noting.

In at least five facilities, agency hiring officials were unaware of hiring policies against hiring doctors with revoked or surrendered medical licenses.

Underlying admissions for relinquishing one’s licenses were in instances of misconduct, incompetence or providing substandard care. Anyone with these issues is supposed to be precluded from working for VA to provide medical care.

In one instance, VA hired a nurse whose license was revoked for patient neglect who later resigned.

This issue is not a new problem.

Over the years, various news reports have highlighted VA’s struggle to maintain adequate credentialing of its doctors, which is a part of this problem. In some instances, VA would publish false credentials to the public about its own doctors.

In one instance, VA reportedly hired a doctor who previously surrendered his license after failing to complete continuing education. Now, continuing education can be very important in areas like stroke treatment or management of atrial fibrillation, for example.

In other instances, VA would select unqualified clinicians to provide diagnostic medical services including detection and treatment of veterans seeking benefits following traumatic brain injuries.

In 2015, I started working with Kare11 News and AJ Lagoe to uncover instances where my own clients were economically or physically harmed due to this form of negligence.

At that time, we uncovered VA used unqualified doctors to diagnose traumatic brain injuries. This investigation uncovered another problem where the agency published false or expired credentials to the public about their doctors – – both problems likely existed for a decade or longer.

At the end of the day, the agency does not tightly police its own clinicians to ensure they are appropriately licensed, adequately credentialed, and adequately trained to provide the services they are providing to veterans nationwide.

Obviously, the agency failed to address the core problem. The agency fails to hold officials accountable when they fail to select appropriately trained and qualified clinicians to provide medical services to veterans.

Apparently, the problem is so prevalent the agency continued to hire unqualified clinicians to provide services to veterans without licenses to provide those services.

Who will be held accountable? How many veterans were harmed?

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29 COMMENTS

    • “Ray”,
      Now that’s a great question!

      I’ll guarantee y’all, there’s a hell of a lot more out there, working at VHA’s nationwide, who aren’t even qualified to pick up garbage!

  1. “How many veterans were harmed”? About 22 per day.
    Reads like Ben found the VA’s secret recipe for despair.

    • EXACTLY what I just told my hubs, not to mention the hundreds who fight everyday, to not become one of the 22, or the hundreds of family’s torn a part by the lack of a damn qualified medical staff. BS!

      • @Ashlynn FW;
        Great comment, right on target!!!
        My only request is that readers swap out both uses of the word “hundreds”, for the word “thousands”.
        There are “hundreds” just in my neck of the woods alone fitting your description.
        I know bcuz I’m one of them, and know/knew many others over two decades.
        Imho; I’ll see your “Lack of qualified staff”, and raise you with: questionable supervision of, very questionable training of, and questionable evals/treatment by mostly residents (80%) out of the dozens of residents i was assigned to spanning two decades+.
        They were “student psych doctors in training”, aka residents, and were typically introduced to me as being”doctors”, until I began asked a them questions…
        It’s no wonder I’m having “problems”:
        Unevaluated blast wave TBI (“told it’s all in my head”) unrecognized PTSD (Denied claim, treatment), No records to be found of various medications severe+ side effects i verbalized to all can be found in my records, etc…
        VA has cost me ‘my family’ four times over in all, nearly gotten me killed more than a few times while on their favored (cheapest!) version of “psych care”: which is various pill cocktails (needed or not) and forced on us behind closed doors with no response to questions like what is it, whats in it, what are their side effects, did they do a blood test to determine if my serotonin was actually low, or other nutritional deficiencies caused by lack of income bcuz can’t work to by proper food, etc.
        It’s easy to “see” why Vets give up on/want out of VA care, and when they can’t afford care otherwise, that’s why they give up all together…

    • @march hare:
      Imho, your comment is right on target, suspect way more so than we know, so far at least…
      Google the 1970 TIME magazine front page article about conditions in veterans hospitals, be sure to seek out the full article, not the condensed version Google allows us to see…

  2. They’re just coming out with this NOW???!!!
    NEWSFLASH…This inept agency has had morons in our hospitals & clinics for MANY YEARS!

  3. How about the fake healthcare providers who “bought their fake degrees” over in some of the third world countries!
    Betcha the VA has a few of them running around!

  4. The TBI are is one that hit me. The BVA remanded for a qualified exam on May 11, 2017 which still hasn’t been done. Apparently Denver VARO is unable to get qualified examiners? Perhaps the Director is after kickbacks is the reason for hiring the unqualified. Just one more avenue of corruption in Denver. Or perhaps the Director has a very bad reputation as one to work for especially with good quality work places in the Civilian community. Hours matter these days to physicians.

  5. It’s not just doctor’s that don’t meet the criteria, nurses, and other positions where individuals who handle veterans records are being vetted and allowed to hold jobs at VA departments through the this country isn’t right or legalin my mind and should raise questions why is the VA not being held to higher standards, the Trump administration needstoo clean the swamp in that department and hire the right individual who will get things done right not cut corners or come up with excuses but correct today’s issue and resolve them

  6. …….and if they hire disqualified doctors, you know damn well they hire UNQUALIFIED VOC REHAB COUNSELORS….

    SHUT THE VA DOWN!!!

    IT US NO GOOD!!!!!

  7. And this somehow surprises you? I mean get real Ben, you didnt see the Commercial where the VA was actively trying to get unqualified nurses and doctors to work for them by saying once you apply and are accepted you can go anywhere in the US? Now why would a nurse or a doctor do this UNLESS they had something on their record that would not allow them to work at a hospital in or around the area where they live now? And why would a nurse or a doctor do this when they could make twice what they are making in a VA facility, if they were in the private sector. Heck my doctor can barely speak english and has an accent so thick you can cut it with a knife, but he is making 6 figures a year in a 9-5 job. One of the nurses at the facility has been fired from three hospitals in two states and yet she is here constantly complaining about the cold weather and is making in the high 90’s a year. To people like that this is free money and they dont give a damn about the Veterans as if they did you would not have to wait almost 90 minutes past your appointment time to even see them.

  8. Ben, you pointed out that one snake oil pratictioner failed to continue their education. This not only happens in the VHA. How about all the slugs at VBA that fail to take advantage of PAID education updates that ultimately decide the fate of many deserved claims. VA is a fucking feeding trough for the lazy. Shut it down.

    FUCK VA
    FUCK AFGE

  9. The best docs follow the money. The VA pay of docs is likely at the bottom of the scale. We get what they pay for. Oh – oh – wait a sec. Shrinky tells me I’m supposed to be more positive. Hey. I just got a letter from my US Senator (Merkely) with the subject line, “Delivering the Excellent Treatment Our Veterans Deserve” …. boooohaaaaahahahaaha What do you want to be he’ll announce he’s running for Presidick.

  10. Tsk Tsk, I am relieved to hear that this issue is being address! I have been a victim of receiving medical treatment that nearly killed me physically and financially! I know we may just be getting lip service from the VA as history has given us reason for the skepticism, but we just have to keep on keeping on! If we don’t stop, in the end, we will prevail. In the interim we have a nice paper trail for building evidence and substantiating our accusations.

    Let the VA show it’s true colors, are they going to be an organization that others will admire and use as a representation of what it means to be a United States government entity or is the VA going to be the BIG joke and continue on with its corrupt and immoral antics? Wow what drama this is interesting and exciting.

    Oh one more thing, FYI most physicians get a six-figure income from the VA and only work two days! The rest of the week they go back to their private practices, that is if they are legit and have licenses.

    Peace Out

    • VA trains 70% of American Doctors, so what does that say about what other countries think about how VA runs things?
      I think it’s disgraceful, and a huge ongoing black eye on America. What does this say about the politicians that continue to sit on their collective assets raking in the dough while veterans get raked over the coals by VA, left with out care, or given care that is not worth the paper the records of it are written on, due to lack of training, lack of follow up training, trained to do as little as possible, not order tests any civilian provider would loose license over.
      ★@Ben:
      I’d like to see Ben do a comparison of the training materials VA uses to train doctors, especially psychiatric doctors, and some of the more reputable civilian doctor training institutions. I bet there are many huge and glaringly obvious differences…

      • Not anymore. Not since Reagan turned the scholarships into bank loans so the Bankers could follow the Doctors for life.

        It is the reason Psychiatrists are a dying breed. That extra 4 years of residency to earn less money than being a neurologist and actually being able to pay off that student debt someday.

  11. A Medical Degree can be bought in any country, and old, retired Drs. are often hired as “Consultants” by the VA to serve as “interim” PACT providers. I would guess the requirements for a Consultant are different than for a direct hire.

    I’ve had a VA Dr. assigned to provide my care who’s idea of that care was—and this is a direct quote—“I pray God for you”. The one after that never once spoke directly to me as a human being; they spoke into their computer screen using the third-person “the patient claims…”. Wow. Both were RECENT HIRES.

    BOTH spoke excellent English. One was born in New York, one in Michigan. Both were trained and qualified to practice, 50 and 35 years ago, in the USA (in New York and Michihan, in fact). This is Texas, where they are also both qualified to practice, according to the license on their respective walls.

    These “Drs” replaced three superb clinicians who were harassed out of the VA by our new Clinical Director. The Clinical Director was also born, trained, and licensed in the USA, including in Texas.

    The issues with the VA run very deep, as even Mr, Krause will no doubt agree. Being a bureaucracy, it is institutionally resistant to change. The only people able to change it are the people with Statutory Authority over it—Congress. To change it will require continuous oversight—in other words, for politicians to pay attention and require that their directives actually be met, OVER TIME.

    Without the VA, I have NO health care. My State could care less about people who aren’t wealthy; they “prefer people who work for a living”. Ouch. Now when faced with the “Veteran” label, sure, they scramble to SAY the right things, but they still turn down federal money for health care based on national political goals. Why would I put myself at their mercy…they have none? I can’t use “Mediwhatever For All” if my state won’t take the Mediwhatever money to begin with.

    This is about oversight and responsibility. Forcing the VA to serve Veterans requires Veterans to force our Congresspersons—the only ones who can make the VA do anything—to DO THEIR JOBS or get the boot (the only thing they care about), REGARDLESS of their Party affiliation. Why any veterans would have any Party affiliation escapes me, but if you must, then make those D/R votes accountable in the primaries.

    The government does NOT get smaller. No matter what anyone tells you, neither Party is in favour of “smaller” government—they just differ, slightly, in where they want to push their noses next. They are not going to wipe out the VA and start over. Why do you suppose we have a Department of Defense AND a Department of Homeland Security? Because Party X believes in small government, or wants to change everything, or drain something, or Deal another round? Horseshit. So if we’re going to fix issues of care in the VA, we’re the only ones who are going to do it, and we have to do it by forcing politicians to protect the only thing most of them care about, their “phoney baloney jobs”.

    • Steven, you said a mouthful! Like you, the VA is my only access to medical care in TX. Party politics are gonna be the death of our Republic (both the union and TX alike).
      I’ve no idea what region of TX you reside, but your description of your experiences with your own PACT providers nearly mirrored those of myself and buddies locally. It’s just so sad to hear how poorly not only the VA treats us, but also TX – when one considers just how many military bases there are in this state.
      Sadly, in the House and Senate, Veterans Affairs Committees are the bottom of the ladder for our esteemed members. Few of them really want to be on them, and move ‘up’ as soon as they can. For the few who do stay on them, they are the ones who actually give a damn about us. THEY are the ones who we can be most effective with getting things done. I’d like to suggest that we all contact each of the Reps on these committees and send them links to this GAO report, asking that they review the existing laws and procedures in place for doctor and nurse credentialing. Then ask that they align them with state laws for whichever state in which the doctors and nurses currently practice. It’s not difficult that a doctor or nurse have to be licensed in a state in which he or she practices; considering that there is not national credentialing board. Hold doctors and nurses at the VA to state standards for licensure and continuing education. It only seems to be the logical thing to me.

      • If that graph with the low numbers of ‘disqualified’ doctors is supposed to be actual and factual, I disagree and think it’s more propaganda and lies. Total bull really. To be PC media refuses to report publically about phony MDs or practitioners with phony certifications or practicing meds minus the certs. Bad enough the over-seers don’t want to hear out complaints but it goes on to some Medicare fraud too. Oh the poor things are just coming here for a better life. Right. So let the censoring continue as we are supposed to get info by word of mouth or scuttle-butt only. Just like all the voter fraud going on that isn’t discussed or reported on much.

        Indiana like other states apparently are lost causes from those so-called “Human Relations” offices VA or civvy…. on up to the top of the ‘chain of command.’ That we are told we must follow, use, or play games with. Contacting representatives that claim are there to help or claim can put us in contact with heads of the VA and gubbermint for remedy or investigations is more BS.

        Something is wrong in hiring if we have to deal with new MDs or practitioners from foreign lands or big cities like New York, etc., then be told about how great they are from PAs or officials, to them coming from a family of MDs being prominent highly respected specialist and such in their state and communities. Okay, so why are their elite family members coming to fly over po-dunk states to practice at a VA, be narcissist, and happy about ruining our health care and talking dumb shit? With that attention being eyes on the computer screen and typing away only? Some that simply cannot speak or understand plain English? Or smiling repeating the mantra ‘we have these orders from the top’ crap.

        Expecting logic, ethics, truth,etc., from med boards just as corrupt and ignorant as their schooling is today? All being part of the corruption and covering-up games including the retaliation fun they all enjoy? And we all know about who all those “prominent,” the “professionals, or country club types are going to support and protect. It ain’t us. But we are supposed to fall silent over any aspect of it or because of two-faced vet groups out there with their many excuses used while some of us are under full scale attack or totally ignored? Not happening. Stand for something or kneel for all of it. I’ll bitch until the cows come home or I give up the ghost. Tired yes. More sick of all the corruption and censoring going on along with the many traitors and creeps out there that need exposed.

  12. Several of these icompetent idiots have been funneled through my v.a. and a couple of them nearly killed me.

    Gayla Jean Herbel – claimed to be an Endocrinologist too

    Marie Rodriguez – refused to listen to patient and pushed the panic button summoning the police while the patient advocate was sitting in the room with me after I told him about the abuse.

    The first one killed (MURDERED!!!!!) over 20 before she was kicked out of this hospital.

    The very saddest part is the fact that they are not jailed pending trial!!!

  13. I believe I am a victim of a incompetent NP at the Cheyenne VA with a C&P exam resulting in another major 6 hour back surgery to correct what she forced me to do. Should have walked out knowing I couldn’t perform her circus act. Now I am trying to get this disability made T&P. I submitted for convelescent pay. Sense when is a NP more qualified than an orthopedic surgeon? I wouldn’t let the VA give my dog a bath. A lot of employees never spent one day in the service and than want to work in the VA? REALLY? The VA is a travesty and the veterans pay the price

    • Must be the same NP I had for a C&P in 2015 at Cheyenne. And since when are NPs qualified to do C&P exams–not. And my C&P was declared unqualified by the BVA Judge in 2017 and remanded. Denver VARO still is unable to provide those of us that use Cheyenne a qualified examiner. Wanted me to go to Golden Co but couldn’t provide transportation for the Remand exam. I suggested Black Hills, which I can get to. Don’t have a driver willing to do Denver traffic at rush hour which would have been necessary for the appointment. And then they weren’t offering a protocol TBI exam. Not even sure they had a qualified examiner for my cervical and lumbar spine.

      The NP did my back and still couldn’t get the idea I was claiming it as a secondary to an MVA which confirmed my temporal lobe seizures from my TBI which were documented. Another cause of the remand. Plus new evidence that my cervical spine was SC because after a disc ruptured in 2003 the numbness on the back of my left forearm went away. Couldn’t get from the record that the diagnosis of pseudo seizures was bogus. Couldn’t be a correct diagnosis by definition. had spiking epileptiform tracings on previous EEGs. And a confirmation in the record based upon those EEGs. The physician who did the diagnosis of pseudo seizures didn’t compare the EEGs which confirmed the temporal lobe seizures or it would have been clear.

  14. I think we’re all tired of yelling and banging on the door for someone to listen to us. No one in a position to do anything about this has commented, or won’t because the’re to afraid to expose themselves. Even calling on Ben is kind of useless anymore. (This his your website isn’t it Ben?). I think the only ones observing are lurking in the shadows and using our words against us for the’re own personal gains. It’s all falling on deaf ears folks. We’re all being forced in a direction that nobody wants or deserves.

    • Welcome to my nightmare
      I think you’re gonna like it
      I think you’re gonna feel you belong
      A nocturnal vacation
      Unnecessary sedation
      You want to feel at home ’cause you belong

      Welcome to My Nightmare
      Alice Cooper

    • Back in the Land of the Big PX for all but 20 years of the last 50. The best period was the 20 years in Japan. Good health care there. Controlled dispensing of opioids. Hospitalized for the shots that managed the pain. No way to take it just to get high so no addiction from them.

      And I learned the control. So when I got back after the 20 years I didn’t get sucked in. But life has been hell in poverty and will continue for most vets that deserve more. Life has been bearable the last year and a half after I was finally awarded TDIU after a 30 year fight. But they still owe me 22 years back pay.

  15. Use to be said that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’….now with all the mooslim doctors, it takes a bacon sandwich!!

  16. [States of Disgrace: A Flawed System Fails to Inform the Public | Medpage Today]
    “https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/statesofdisgrace/71418”

    [Exposing Bad Docs Who Hide From Their Past]
    “https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/states-of-disgrace/77027?xid=nl_popmed_2018-12-20&eun=g1239929d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PopMed_122018&utm_term=NL_Gen_Int_PopMedicine_Active”

    [Bad Docs Give Up Licenses, But Not Medical Practice]
    “https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/states-of-disgrace/76584?xid=nl_mpt_breakingnews2018-11-30&eun=g1239929d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=SoDbaddocs_113018&utm_term=Breaking%20News%20-%20Active”

    “https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2018/10/15/government-policies-are-driving-doctors-to-quit-health-care/#210715672bf3”

    “https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2016/12/15/report-finds-flaws-in-mental-health-care-at-st-louis-va/”

    [You might want to read what your doctor writes about you. Only 25% of Americans do so]
    “http://click.et.npr.org/?qs=52e69f20f4f19f39020dcb27be5e65a0a8173db64a9636ca417e33ebbd3648df7f7a7cc8abfb0f6d2139a7e5529f02e18776c1ca408ba7f2”

    [How Patients React After Seeing Their Doctors’ Notes About Them]
    “https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/08/23/640929647/open-medical-records-can-spur-frank-talk-between-doctors-and-patients?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20180826&utm_campaign=health&utm_term=nprnews”

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