Two Durham VA Medical Center Employees put on Leave

Durham VA Medical Center

Durham, VAMC – Two more VA employees were ousted in the wake of the Wait List scandal. This time, the Durham VA Medical Center, lead by DeAnne M. Seekins, is involved.

The Durham VA Medical Center, of VISN 6, is the fourth hospital system involved in manipulating appointment scheduling. This is probably the most disgusting example given that the Durham VA Medical Center is in the middle of the famed Durham research triangle. There are plenty of facilities in the triangle, including the Duke University Hospital, but VA apparently did not refer out the veterans who desperately needed care in fee services.

On Monday, in preparation for the Secretary Shinseki audit, Durham VA Medical Center leadership placed two employees on Administrative Leave. The employees were allegedly engaged in similar scheduling deceptions as those in Phoenix.

Last week, VA Secretary Shinseki ordered audits of all clinics throughout the VA system following further revelations that the crisis was fare more widespread than previously thought.

“In preparation for this audit, VHA (Veterans Health Administration) Central Office learned on May 12 that a Durham VA Medical Center employee indicated that some employees at that facility may have engaged in inappropriate scheduling practices at some point between 2009 and 2012.”

“VA takes any allegations about patient care or employee misconduct very seriously. If the allegations are true, the inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and employees will be held accountable.”

VA’s policy is that all patients should be able to see a medical professional at Veterans Affairs within 14 days of the requested or preferred date. Waits longer than 14 days must be documented within VA’s online scheduling system.

However, VA has made a practice of penalizing employees who schedule out appointments longer than 14 days. Rather than following the rules, the policy just created more crafty bureaucratic loopholes to avoid negative repercussions from DC. Sadly, in an effort to save money, these VAMC facilities refused to do the right thing and refer out the care.

Durham VAMC now officially joins the ranks of three other VA Health Care systems:

Here is a little bit about the Durham VAMC:

  • Veterans in primary service area 199,937;
  • Total beds 271;
  • Nursing/domiciliary beds 120;
  • Inpatient admissions (2010) 7,739;
  • Outpatient visits (2010) 507,595;
  • Total health care expenditures (2010) $350,000,000;
  • Total pharmaceutical expenditures (2010) $46,966,851

Durham VAMC is a 271-bed referral, teaching, and research facility providing tertiary and extended care. It hosts a VA Health Services Research Center of Excellence and is affiliated with Duke University, University of North Carolina Dental School, and East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. The Durham VAMC provides acute inpatient care in medicine, surgery, and psychiatry, as well as acute and chronic ambulatory care for outpatients. Non-institutional care is supported by the home-based primary care program. Durham VAMC also is the host site for the VISN 6 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center.

If you are concerned, give Director DeAnne M. Seekins a call at (919) 286-0411, ext. 8098.

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  1. At VA Medical Center Loma Linda, The administration in firing our dental hygienist just so they can replace them with hygienist that are military veterans. We have 3 hygienists in our dental clinic. All 3 are long term workers who have established wonderful working relationships with their patients. They are also single moms. The other VA hospital in our VISN is Los Angeles. That dental clinic has more patients than Loma Linda VA but they have only one hygienist. Most patients get their teeth cleaned by the dentist personally only to clean around the work area. So they, Los Angeles VA Dental Clinic, is they one who needs dental hygienists. They have the positions available and funded. But they aren’t putting the new hygienist in LA. They are firing our long term hygienist, for the sole reason to replace them with vets. These replacement hygienist are already employed elsewhere in the U.S. and must turn in notices and then relocate from the east coast to the west coast. Why can’t the VA send them to Los Angeles where they are needed and not put these single moms out on the street. I am a vet and I cannot look these ladies in the eye and still have pride in my status as a vet if this is how we treat them. Shame on you Ms. Sherman and especially the Dental Chief, Dr. Keiger for kicking these ladies and their children to the curb like that.

  2. At the Loma Linda VA Medical Center in CA., the alternate wait list was kept in the various department chief’s office, up until last week when the auditors called ahead and announced that they would be showing up in a couple of days to check on it. That’s when the hospital administrator sent out a message that said basically, ‘get rid of any alternate wait or appointment lists, …or else’. It seems that the dept. head would keep the Docs notes and referrals from being inputted until they can get the vet on the 14 day wait list. Of course the vet thinks they are on the list the whole time but little do they know…
    Sometimes when too many files pile up in the chief’s office they will / would stuff them into empty cabinets.

  3. I am a Vietnam Airforce vet working as a crew chief in 1968-1969. I do have Agent Orange Ischemic heart disease. I am experiencing several new health problems increasing quickly. What angers me is that when I express to the Primary care doctor some of my symptoms during an exam there is never enough time to talk about it. They always say there is not enough time and it then takes another month for the problem and if it is not an emergency it can take a month to get another month to get checked then a three weeks wait for a specialist and another month for treatment. Wow!

    1. I have had the same things happen to me at every VAMC; this is systemic. I used the Durham VAMC too for several years and had to leave. False statements in records by the residents, I actually had several scream at me or outright lie. I am now permanent and total and with several disabilities;including partially home bound; that could have been treated better. I am going on 64 and my wife and her parents I sponsored from the Philippines have taken off miles away with my six, soon to be seven son and they all hide from me so I can’t serve papers, or arrest on abandonment, deception, false immigration or incomplete documents which if had been based on the truth I would have never cosigned for them. Now my son and wife are lost to me forever, but they sure want my money to live on and my wife’s parents will not go home based on many reasons, which caused the destruction of my family within months of them being here.

  4. So I’m a little confused… this long wait time a problem VA wide? I have had care at a VA CBOC (not on the above list) for several years, and in that time my medical appointments have generally been 3 months out. I would like them to be the next week, but they were never available.

    I scheduled an appointment with the optometrist, and she scheduled me a whole whopping five months out just to be seen.

    I was joining the MOVE program, and was seen at the beginning of May, but they told me their earliest next available appointment was at the end of July–yep, a couple months out again. So I’m thinking of scrapping it.

    Is there a VA center anywhere that has timely appointments of any kind (not including an ER drop in at a hospital) for vets? Because if there is, I sure haven’t seen it.

  5. You might want to check and
    see who the Director at VAMC
    Durham is. Check your facts!

  6. In a discussion with the Patient Services Supervisor yesterday at Castle Point, NY. She told me their was an inspection going on and all hell is breaking loose. Evidently, the SHTF.

    I had an issue with travel pay which went back several months and several calls with her. After listening to her excuse (the inspection), of why this wasn’t handled as she promised, I told her unless I heard back from her by next Monday, I am calling the IG. She said please, I’ll take care of it, please give me to Monday. In the past, I would have just been blown off. Maybe, some of this is doing some good.

  7. This week, our cowardly CINC Obama has ordered Attorney General Eric Holder not to investigate the potentially criminal scandals being committed at the VA.

    No DOJ criminal investigation shows that OBama has absolutely no shame!

    Think about this.

    Obama is more intent on saving his political legacy than protecting you and me, the American veteran.

    Well, Obama now owns a body count of over 40 dead military veterans.

    Would you have joined the military if you knew you would be one day sacrificed for a corrupt President that cares only for himself?

  8. just imagine the troops defending our freedom in such a manner. these “big timers” would be put before a firing squad, or even worse , would not even have a job. try saying “I’m sorry, my bad, oops, etc.” in GERMAN, JAPANESE, or RUSSIAN.

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