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Negligent VA Doctors Can’t Hide Wrongdoing Says New Senate Bill

Veterans Affairs GAO Report Bad Doctors

The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to end the ability of VA to cover-up for negligent VA doctors terminated for medical malpractice.

The legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs Provider Accountability Act (S. 221), is aimed directly at doctors who are fired for making medical mistakes when treating veterans.

Some bad doctors who lost their jobs due to malpractice will not be able to reach a settlement with the agency to cover-up mandatory reporting as a term of the settlement. Previously, some physicians were able to reach a settlement with the agency where the agency would not report wrongdoing.

The failure to report would allow those bad physicians to get jobs at unsuspecting hospitals. Now, VA will still be required to report bad doctors rather than allowing a cover-up.

RELATED: VA Document Scanning Backlog 5 Miles High

GAO Report Forced Issue Public

The GAO published a scathing report in 2017 confirming what most people knew, VA does not regularly report its negligent doctors where the negligence was so bad that it resulted in termination.

“Without documentation and timely reviews of providers’ clinical care, VAMC officials may lack information needed to reasonably ensure that VA providers are competent to provide safe, high quality care to veterans and to make appropriate decisions about these providers’ privileges,” GAO said.

At the time, VA promised to clean up its own backyard, but after years of toothless promises, Congress had enough. In 2017, VA promised to take corrective action and clarify that certain agreements to conceal bad acts by terminated doctors were illegal. But Congress chose to act rather than solely rely on the agency to police itself.

RELATED: VA Pays $300k For Sepsis Death

Negligent VA Doctors Clean Up Not Enough

Finally, two years later, Congress seems to be wising up to how the agency whitewashes scandals within the Veterans Health Administration.

“VA has made attempts to correct this on their own, but I believe strict guidelines must be implemented to assure our veterans they are receiving the highest quality of care,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who co-sponsored the bill, said in February when unveiling it. 

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo, introduced the legislation but qualified it by asserting the legislation is only aimed at a small number of VA doctors.

RELATED: VA May Lower Credentials Of Some Disability Examiners

“The vast majority of VA employees and medical providers provide exceptional care to our veterans and we are grateful for their service,” Gardner said. “However, there is no excuse for allowing certain medical providers with a history of committing major medical errors to continue putting other patients at risk. We owe every single veteran the best possible care, and we can only provide that care with increased accountability.”

America may now know about negligent VA doctors and the extent of the problem.

RELATED: DoD Failed To Protect Veteran Data

Congress Takes Off Gloves

It only took hundreds of veterans dying starting with the Phoenix VA waitlist scandal, and six more years of failing to satisfactorily clean up its act for Congress to take action.

Now, hopefully, VA will no longer be able to agree to settlements that conceal “serious medical error” or deviations from the minimum “standards of clinical practice.” Adverse actions will now be required to be reported to the state licensing boards and the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Officials generally rarely if ever would report to state boards and the national data bank whenever privileges would be revoked due to negligence.

What About VA Whistleblowers?

That is unless the point of the report is retaliation against a whistleblower says Jacqueline Garrick, founder of Whistleblowers of America.

“However, VA has been known to trump up accusations against doctors and other medical professionals when they have reported medical errors, substandard care, and corruption,” said Garrick in response to the announcement.

“Once reported to the NPDB or other licensing entity, there is no expungement so careers are ruined and veterans are harmed by bystanders not willing to risk making disclosures.”

Garrick tempers the excitement about the legal change calling for Senate to add a higher level review in instances where “the physician has previously reported the hospital.”

Given how the agency is evolving, it makes sense for a review to be added to avoid instances where agency officials do engage in retaliation. All too often, we see the agency hide their questionable motives behind obligations, and a review would allow some layer of protection for legitimate whistleblowers.

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23 thoughts on “Negligent VA Doctors Can’t Hide Wrongdoing Says New Senate Bill”

  1. 12/26/2019

    Dear Crazy Elf,

    You state that the President of the United States says continuously, “The Veterans Administration is fixed!”

    Like NFL Football Games with Las Vegas, or the price of gas in America with OPEC, or the Electric Bill with the State controlled Corporate Commissions, etc…?

    Maybe he is trying to tell Nancy something out in the Open.

    Or maybe you are right and he is just another puppet controlled by Those who controlled Muilenburg [Boeing]. So what you see and hear is all you are going to get!

    Disaster…What a Christmas Gift.

    Somehow I believe the White House is going to get it together—-President received my letter on the 22nd on Boeing and the FAA—the outcome was very good.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  2. Concerned Veteran Arnold Cabral

    Veterans who read this can a Veteran t read telled me if a Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected go to a Dentist 5 different times and a Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected never solved the problem what a Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected what the Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected should do?

  3. Yet active duty military can be run over charred glass by the Military Doc’s and have no way of getting things done

  4. I would like to add to the dialogue About the VA Prescriptions Drug Program. Most Veterans are unaware that 80% of the VA’s prescriptions sent to Veterans (excluding narcotics) come from the VA’s CMOPS, (Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacies). These are the scripts in the white plastic bags that come in the mail to you. The return address on the CMOP prescriptions is always the Veterans local VA. There are only 6 or 7 CMOPs for the entire country.
    See Wikipedia for the history of corruption associated with CMOPS.

    I’ve been trying to address problems the VA and Congressman Defazio’s office concerning improper labels, improper doctor dosing/instructions and the failure too provide warnings about the drug Gemfibrozil which should not be prescribed to Veterans with Gallstones because it increases cholesterol in the bile and leads to gall bladder surgery. In 2017 My VA PCP prescribed the drug Gemfibrozil for my high triglycerides. The VA was aware that I had three large gallstones that showed upon a 2014 VA CT scan. this was not reported in my VA problems list. A friend alerted me not to take this drug. The prescription info the VA provided with Gemfibrozil did not contain the Manufacturers warning not to take if you had gallstones or liver problems. Below its what info which I hope is helpful.
    *”Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
    Gallstones and gallbladder disease
    Low HDL Cholesterol, High Triglycerides and Their Treatment
    Although gallstones are formed from the supersaturation of cholesterol in the bile, high total cholesterol levels themselves are not necessarily associated with gallstones. Gallstone formation is associated with low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. Some evidence suggests that high levels of triglycerides may impair the emptying actions of the gallbladder.
    Unfortunately, fibrates (drugs that may be used to correct these abnormalities) increase the risk for gallstones by boosting the amount of cholesterol secreted into the bile. These medications include gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (Tricor). Other cholesterol-lowering drugs do not have this problem or may even decrease the risk for gallstones, which is the case for statins.”*

    Title 21 addresses the FDA mandates for prescription drugs. Last year the some of the CMOPS started using the FDA compliant labelling that had certain prescribing info highlighted in yellow. I save all of my prescription bottles. Going back to 2009 Hines VA Hospital pharmacy was using the labels containing the yellow highlights and adequately displaying the warnings for my hydrocodone script.

    In 2018 when some CMOPs started using the FDA mandated Labels, the warnings for blood pressure medication Lisinopril were all removed except may cause dizziness. The Warning “do not take if you are pregnant” was removed and FDA’s black box warning that Lisinopril will kill your unborn baby is not included in the VA’s info accompanying the script. Gotta go for now.

  5. Lem , Did you contact the patient advocate in regards to your 2000 Dollar bill ? The P.T. advocate should pass it along to the next level in line if they don’t have a clear understanding of who to contact or how to solve this matter .

  6. Peel the layers off this onion and you find that a lot of Veterans were denied 1151 claims because of this coverup. They should retro the rule and force them to fix the past for veterans who request it.

  7. Ben,

    I have written to your e-mail box about uncovering some corruption at the Cheyenne VAMC and quite possibly all of them are doing it too.

    The word needs to get out that the v.a. has curtailed the Choice Program too soon, illegally, according to the ‘Mission Act of 2018’ Sections 142 and 143.

    They stuck me will a downtown provider bill because of their corruption. My visit was on March 4, 2019. The ‘Mission Act of 2018’ specifically states that the “sunset of the Choice Program will be on the one year anniversary of the adoption of the Act”. Which is June 6, 2019.

    I notified my congressperson and they are working on it and may haul some employees off in handcuffs.

    They are in violation of same Act on numerous other items.

    What sickens me is the fact that military veterans, retired or otherwise, that work for the v.a. are treating us patients like crap and ripping us off!!! There is not a damn thing we can do about it.

    1. You are right. Not a damn thing we can do about it. The Choice act was to insulate the Government from payment and provide donors with a scam project. Collect the money from the tax payers and forget about paying the bills.

      If I send my brother to the bank with my house payment and he stops at that horse race betting facility in Cheyenne, loses the house payment, I’ll have to pay my mortgage payment and collect from my brother.

      Not so with Liz’s campaign contributors. We have to sue Health Net or Tri Care who were sent by Uncle Sam to pay the bill. Now we are stuck with the bill even though by law Uncle Sam was supposed to pay it. Class action but no attorney will take it because of “government sovereignty”. And I thought the Constitution was our Sovereign? It is what we swore our oaths to when we signed on the dotted line.

      Signed, in Torrington and still owed $2,000.00 in Choice payments I had to make because the VA didn’t pay my authorized visits.

  8. In September 2019 the drug ranitidine/Zantac was recalled for containing human carcinogen, it took until the end of November 2019 for VA to send out a letter to stop taking it. The drug was pulled off the store shelves the day the recall came out. I checked my prescriptions this week & surprise (not) it is still listed as an active prescription in my list of prescriptions. I had a horrible itchy rash on both arms, I contacted my Dr & without seeing me or the rash prescribed ranitidine which is used to treat stomach ulcers. Didn’t do a thing for the rash. Thats a Bad Doctor. The Va is not fixed, not even close.

    1. #niteWish,
      You’d be surprised, or maybe not, of what I have had to experience.
      Did you know my PCP’s or NP’s, don’t know how to read a lab report! I had two (2) lab reports, in a row, where it showed I had “UTI’s”! Did the VA contact me or send me antibiotics? NO! I had to go outside to give more blood to receive the necessary treatments!
      That’s how screwed up the VA healthcare system is!
      There’s more, much more, to what I’ve had to endure at the hands of incompetent VA employees!

  9. Flotmorton P Gildersleeve

    don’t be lulled into the thihnking that these VAMC empoyees have any power over you. You/We have the power and need to exert it/

  10. Sandy Hale, Disabled combat veteran

    This is just another typical whitewash, putting whip cream on top of feces to make it look good enough to swallow. Obviously, Veterans are not complaining enough. Here’s what each and every one of us can do. How about standing up for your fellow veteran when you see something being done WRONG. There’s a novel concept. Expose these VA employees. Complain verbally and in writing.
    I was in the Michael Debakey Medical Center, Houston, Texas VA hospital prosthetics dept. where I had to wait three hours for an employee to hand me my box with shoes in it because of their new policy of holding a walk-in clinic instead of appointments for diabetic shoes. The walk-in clinic shuts down during lunch from 11-Noon and was supposed to return to open at Noon.
    I was there at the counter at Noon wanting to know if the VA employees had returned from lunch and was told that they had extended their lunch hour to 1pm. I loudly told the desk jockey behind the VA prosthetics counter that the official VA notice stated the lunch for this dept. was from 11AM to Noon and not 1PM. A fellow veteran stood up beside me and held up his notice of the walk-in clinic and stated his document stated the same thing, Lunch from 11AM – Noon. The desk jockey didn’t know what to say and I immediately went to the affairs dept. and wrote a formal written complaint. I don’t know what happened, but 15 minutes later, my shoes were ready and two other VA employees suddenly appeared out of nowhere and started calling in veterans. That’s teamwork, people. You have to expose these lazy and incompetent VA employees. If you sit there and accept this kind of treatment, then, that’s exactly what your going to get.
    Don’t wait for Congress to fix all your problems, there’s a few you can fix yourself. Try standing up for yourself, your fellow veterans and our rights, together we can expose these problems.
    Sometimes, the trash takes itself out……

    1. Sandy, loved you sharing about your experience. Sandy, you are so correct. We should turn the VA on its backside to where the trash is taking it’s ownself out.

  11. Recently discovered I’ve been the victim of whistleblower retaliation. Including mistreatment with the drug, Tegretol, which should have never been given to me because the PDR indicates patients with a sensitivity to amitriptyline or for temporal lobe seizures that include atypical absence seizures, the drug would make the mental functioning worse. The desired outcome of the whistleblower retaliation besides destruction of evidence.

    1. Contacted an attorney group who does whistleblower cases. The Whistleblowers of America, Ben mentioned, doesn’t refer. Not much on their website. Don’t expect to hear back until 2nd week of January. Will post an off topic reply to one of Ben’s articles if anything comes of my contact.

      1. Flotmorton P Gildersleeve

        Hope you get a good lawyer for malpractice, Lem, sounds like an open and shut case and should include damages as well as court orders against the VA.

    2. Lem, you are not only correct about this drug but there are many more drugs the VA uses which contribute to cognitive decline. Though, the poor quality medical practices are not only in the VA but in private sector too. I am aware of it because I have had to correct situations that were falling through the cracks in regards to care among others. See it is funny how they will extend the smoking age but yet they will allow marijuana. Plus it is crazy how they will arrest some one for pot but yet they have legalized it in some states. Government gone insane. Lem, plus FDA allows the VA to prescribe Black Box Listed Medications to veterans that all banned in other countries. I am aware of this. But Lem the pharmaceutical formulary needs to be half sized to be destroyed in an incinerator. Lem, even medications for other parts of the body can contribute to mental issues. The brain and body should be treated as one. A stomach med for example that contributes to cognitive impairment is Priolsec. Many of this drugs overlap with doing the same thing. Many are just a bunch of chemicals. Crap. Though with all this being said, I agree with what the Senate just voted on. The question is will they adhere to it? Or is it for show? Hey though everyone almost whole healthcare industry is serving itself not the consumers. I can break it up piece by piece to illustrate how. They should redirect the medical schools to teach the curriculum and residences from the perspective of the patients’ experiences. Afterall, medicine is trial and error anyway along with evidence. Everyone, Merry Christmas. ???

  12. You’re correct that VA still isn’t fixed, but at least the White House Veterans Complaint Hotline is working for countless veterans who fell through the cracks.

    And, you have to concede,sometimes, POTUS Trump, himself “picks up” the phone and fixes a problem on the spot.

    NOT!

    1. Frank,

      They staffed it with v.a. personnel. I will give you 2 guesses as to why it didn’t work.

      “Stupid is as stupid does.” should be a v.a. slogan.

  13. Recently, President Trump sent Speaker of the House – Pelosi – a 6 page letter excoriating her for impeaching him. In it was one sentence I do not agree with: *”The Veterans Administration is fixed!”*
    The VA is NOT fixed!
    Every day, veterans are still committing suicide because of VA’s incompetent employees!
    Every day, veterans are receiving less than adequate healthcare!
    Every day, veterans are still waiting for their case to be adjudicated!
    Every day, veterans read where VA employees and/or contractors broke the law and were arrested!
    Every day, veterans walk into a clinic or hospital and are treated with disrespectful looks or speach!

    I wish President Trump would stop saying “The Veterans Administration is fixed!” It’s far from being “fixed”! Veterans know it’s NOT! It needs a complete overhaul. Or completely shut down!
    That being said, to all the great VA employees out there, IF you see a veteran being treated wrong – say something! IF you don’t, then you ARE complicit! That’s why and how other reprobates in the VA get away with harming their patients!

    *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/12/20/former-sacramento-area-ceo-given-5-years-va-health-care-fraud.html”*
    See, it’s still going on!

    1. Crazy Elf,

      Read the ‘Mission Act of 2018’ and you will see in there the wording that states that the v.a. will overhaul itself by getting rid of bad employees and closing down “under functioning” facilities. There is a timeline but . . . . NOT SOON ENOUGH!!!

    2. Mark 2-22 Jesus said.
      And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
      We need new bottles. The old ones have lost our resources and respect . Most of us are dead inside USA compounds. Systematic failures towards the most vulnerable of us. No time to play games here. Wisdom is crying out loud to be heard on the front gates of the Department Affairs. Empty the old wine. Drain the swamp!!
      We need a brand new white clear system. THIS ONE IS COMPLETELY CORRUPT. NO KIDDING. I PERSONALLY KNOW IT. WE NEED TO TAKE THIS ONE DOWN. THE ROOTS. THE ROOTS ARE CORRUPT. IT CAN NOT BRING ANYTHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WITCH HAS PREVIOUSLY PRODUCED. NO. MR. PRESIDENT THIS IS NOT WHAT WE SEE ON THE GROUND. IF ANYONE ASK ME WHAT THE VA IS I WOULD TELL YOU THE MAFIA. BUT THIS TIME UNDER THE GOVERNMENT AND FEDERAL UMBRELLA PROTECTION. NO JOKE. NO KIDDING
      INSTITUTIONALIZED MADNESS. BUT FOR THE PUBLIC THE MAIN MASK STILL BLINDING. TIME TO UNMASK THE SYSTEM. EXPOSING FOR WHAT IT IS. THE DEATH OF OUR SOLDIERS ARE SIMPLY SINISTER SYMPTOMS MANIFESTING WHAT’S BEHIND THE SCENE.
      SOLDIERS ACTIVATE.

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