Fake License Plates, 1,000 Veterans’ Records, And A VA Employee: What Could Go Wrong?
Long Beach, California, the place where all Minnesotans want to be in the dead of winter.
Home to palm trees, sunny shores, and one giant VA hospital serving thousands of vets in the Southland area. Seems quiet, mundane, just the West Coast in the summertime, right?
As you’re probably aware, VA campuses have their own police forces that patrol the campus. One of those VA police forces made what appeared to be a routine traffic stop this Thursday – but what they found was anything but routine.
The car that got stopped had non-residential truck license plates, which police suspected was off, somehow. Turns out they were right to be suspicious. The plates didn’t even match the car.
The cops looked in, started talking, and saw a chock-full pillbox with no labels on it. That was a suspicious enough “plain view” to merit more of a search inside the car.
But the plot thickens from there. The driver of this car was identified as VA clerical staff… and they had over a thousand patients’ personal files riding in the car with them. Birthdays, addresses, full Social Security numbers… you name it. If it was HIPAA-protected, it was found in this car.
Apparently, the alleged identity thief also fled the scene with roughly $1,000 in miscellaneous federal property. And you thought swiping office supplies was bad!
Not Used For Fraud, Hopefully
So far, it looks like they caught that driver before the information they stole could be used for fraud. But what does this mean for the health and safety of veterans, when the very people tasked with protecting them are caught pulling stunts like this?! I, for one, have a lot more questions.
How did this person pass any kind of rigorous background check to work in the Long Beach VA? Why did it take a traffic stop for anyone to notice such a weird-looking car hauling tail off the hospital campus? How much would this have escalated without that traffic stop?
The whole scenario is what a cop would call “hinky.” You might not be able to tell right off the bat what’s gone wrong… but something’s definitely gone wrong.
What VA Will Do
All rhetoric aside, the facility is the VA Long Beach Health Care System and the agency will notify veterans impacted by the theft. Normally, the agency provides some kind of credit monitoring service for a year, but after that, the veteran will be on their own.
Given the history and increase in the frequency of VA employees absconding with veterans health records, many of us hope the agency will start taking more active steps to prevent criminal employees from accessing our data.
Earlier this week, we reported on a similar situation in Florida where one VA employee helped steal 58 records. He then sold the records for crack to a credit card fraudster who took out credit cards and submitted fraudulent tax returns to the IRS. All in, the duo ripped off veterans and taxpayers of over $100,000.
RELATED: Cocaine For Veterans’ Health Records
Credit card fraud is big business, and hopefully, the agency does the right thing by not only prosecuting this criminal but also digging into how the employee ended up stealing the records of more than 1,000 veterans.
Dear Benjamin Krause,
You are now starting to climb into the Hornets’ Nest—what the German’s called it in 1988.
Bat carefully! This is home of Treason [1998 Cox Report].
McDonnell Douglas had to be “sold off” to Boeing. Hughes Electronics had to turn into L3 and Allied Signal had to put a stamp on their heads and call themselves Honeywell.
It is a nasty territory one should only visit—and not live there.
Halter and I used to talk about “the Enemy Within”—Bobby Kennedy was not kidding.
Col. Gravel told me in Rep. Lungren’s office to forget about it and go back to Ohio—he died on the operating table at St. Mary’s Hospital. It could be worse—Tony [reporter for the Daily Breeze] slipped and fell [died] in the Torrance Memorial Hospital. John Bogart, Halter, and I knew damn well what this town was doing. San Pedro cliffs are very useful—just ask LA County Sheriffs [Judge McKee–looking into Halter’s allegations].
White Collar Crime who is talking about it? The last time I heard anyone beside myself talking about White Collar Crime was my old “friend” who buried our case for promotion William Fahey back in Torrance 1992 at the Marriott Hotel [my fellow congressional candidate in 1992]. White Collar Crime is not a subject–Why?
Where was the VA Security?
Just an observational interjection here!
I know many, maybe all veterans were told by the service rep when filling out their C-file, that VBA wanted/needed SC/nexus conformation from VHA personnel… period.
I think that the insurance industry has civvy med by the shorthairs, wherein refusing patient cost coverage unless they also are getting the high cost tests, etc., in their hunk of the bubble. Then handing the patient off to a specialist increases the ins. co. profits. In turn, especially if the referred to practitioner is ‘out of network’, that bleeds the patient’s finances… I see this with too mamy people I am aquainted with: the family doctor isn’t allowed to do much more than take the patients temprature, EVERYTHING goes to specialty.
Kinda sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Agreed. The insurance companies, AMA, VA using insurance companies contractors running clinics/CBOCs like Humana, the entire medical care industrial complex, their investors/stock-holders (politicians included), ruination trickling out to lawyers that do nothing but get wealthy off of medical bankruptcies alone, plus many more are not our caring friends in modern health care. Big period.
Life long friend got killed here that media refused to report on was struck by a mafia families kid’s car while riding his bicycle. Punk kid Tweeted about having to drive his daddies BMW while getting $1800.00 damage fixed on his car. He should have had his face on driving not Tweeting and driving. My friend spent five days in Eskenazi hospital’s ICU. They couldn’t get him stable to the up-coming many surgeries to put his eyes back in his head, fix all the internal damages and about every bone in his body broken. Punk kid making fun of white people didn’t seemed moved much by it all. They thought I was supposed to pay the bill since he used my address and phone number for his business and work affairs since about to lose his home. The amount I was told on the phone was over ….one million dollars & change… and I didn’t studder. Bill collectors refused to tell me the exact amounts unless I agreed to pay the bill or arrange for payments. Idiots and scum of the Earth.
It boils down to the VA supposedly classed as ‘socialist styled care.’ Quality care for all. Ha. Then that same styled care and AMA saw great benefits and dollars in moving that structured spread the money around style with the many loop-holes, demands, etc. Since ol’ Nixon signed papers allowing the med industry to profit unrestrained the cost of health care went nuts starting in the early 70’s. House calls went out too. They discovered they could make more money herding patients like cattle, or making ill ones come through their clinics for care regardless of dangers or difficulty. More patients seen, more money made, no road trips for MDs any more. Go on their turf to be played, used and abused, or killed. Simple. American people… the sheep… crickets and not even a bah bah bah ha ha bleet. Evidenced by patients or the AMA thinking its ethical for patients or those in pain to sit in some waiting room, no water or food allowed, for six hours or more to see a damned MD. Oh but it’s socialism and all a good thing the locals spew.
That’s why I try to pass along info about things that so many hate to see done. Like the MD Elaina George and others who walked away from insurance companies, disliked Obama care, and from traditional expectations. She made a lot of enemies speaking out like she did against the entire racket. “Big Medicine” is her book and don’t know if the many videos and speaking is still out there or not. According to her there are many MDs out there committing suicide over this stuff when caught in the ‘machine’ and unable to do what they originally intended to do by insurance companies or restrictions by the Feds or AMA.
I’m telling you gtha from the VA. Every time I think it can’t get worse it does. This happened to me in Chicago. Now I have to regularly monitor my kids because VA had that info too.
MollyMarine, Horse’s of a different color around here. Tried to go minus the records and the constantly needed referrals but that doesn’t work. My first finds, clinic, hospital, and picks are the same ones I am having really bad issues with today. Playing the same VA styled tactics for some crazy reason or agendas.
After about two years of the game dealing with the VA gift of a broken jaw, dentist and oral surgeon doing surgeries without X-rays, not wanting to release files or reports over the issue alone, and then dealing with new issues like a torn rotator cuff and etc., I had to make serious moves towards finding a good civy MD. Not that easy locally. Having to contact the state’s AG on the side to see why and how a oral surgeon is/was refusing to give me copy of the surgery reports and such. Took months and then a phony one page report came to me. Nothing like what was told me in-office, the damages done, limited helps from their surgery, and the multiple pages I seen and signed in their office. See how things roll here? Locally it’s called by many in various ‘professions’ as “professional courtesies.” Won’t do anything to harm others, to expose any form of corruption or gross professional misconduct, or blemish others reputations or business. Not the country clubbing thing to do around here.
Seen my first PCP/MD and I thought things went fairly smooth and he had written plans down for the next appointment. (After they had copies (about 40lbs of interspersed paperwork they didn’t seem to care for) of files from the VA.) First thing was blood tests, pharmacy checks for MD shopping/illegal scripts, and LEO reports. He wouldn’t listen and kept asking why I couldn’t take SSRIs or Gabapentin for pain. He ended up giving me Gaba under another name Neurontin or some crap like that any way. I was telling him I had it all in my notebook covering all the ills, meds, treatments, items being used, diagnosis, etc. Like the VA he didn’t take a look or took my word for anything. It had to be from med file info. All the while then stating (like others around here) they don’t use others X-rays or test results but would have to have it all done again by their picks and clinics MDs used.
Example: This new MD had already taken X-rays of the torn rot cuff. Being a mere PCP he couldn’t “do what he was trained for” then sending me off to a bone/joint specialist in the same clinic, different building across the street… again ‘having to take our own X-rays to read.” Nothing obvious there is there? But I courteously run the game.
In a few weeks or two they had my files from the VA swift enough. Next visit nothing correct or plans made was in my file for discussion. Then the VA-like excuses began, new staff, mistakes, pc stuff, blah blah. Then more strange phone calls, etc. He did send me to the only MD in town for pain meds which after a six hour long trip in the waiting room was over got a few. What a trip that MD was. Six hours the common practice here. I lasted two and half hours the next round, got sick, and had to leave. Politelly telling them to call me for a new app when I could get in quicker. Never happened, never returned. Signing more contracts there along with the part where that office could sue us for not following their requests or mis-using out pain meds. (!) Also a copy stating that inner office or clinic to clinic, like VA to civy care..including any flagging or negative attack reports… may not be considered as part of our official files to get copies of. Inner office use only. See the game. Yep, got it in black and white. And why I sign documents today.. Vi Coactus, like it will/does any good.
Much more to all of it but then people think I am paranoid or the problem? Why I try to record everything and now today anyone I feel the need to including health care establishments like the VA didn’t already teach me that need.
Your response to Elsie is dead on correct too. But here they cut pain meds for us whos names were pulled out of that VA hat just to make thing look good, and for retaliation kicks over some small matter, a mole hill made into a mountain of major issues. Under Obama, and Trumpster just made things worse like Congress to the AMA has. Claiming phys therapy can cure it all… with SSRIs/Gabapentin. Pain meds stopped, suffering went up, some went back to alcoholism for the cure, along with many deaths and media refusing to report on vet suicides among others. Pixie dust, fairy land, unicorns and rainbows here by-golly. All is well. Oh but lets all forget that stuff and play the distracting partisan politics games. While even med care today also seems to be all about politics, agendas, control, attacking, covering-up to the well known price gouging and profiteering.
Have spent months, days on the phone, using hospital referral lists and very out-dated, still nothing. Not taking new patients. Not taking any patients with chronic pain issues. Not without referrals. Not without latest med files. Won’t request med files from other local MDs or from the VA, multiple MD left the state or retired, offices closed. Dealing with foreign MD that have false advertised. Calling them and being told they aren’t ‘family practice’ or some stuff like that. Total FUBAR and SNAFU to total lack of concerns, lack professional ethics, plenty of games.
Oh and got kids while everyone and his brother has access to our files today? Beware of CPS types and those who are “immune from prosecution” that can hassle vets with issues or take their kids away from them over trumped up charges or for those retaliation purposes. Say like those with flags or dealing with phony charges. Rules are changing in Indiana to make such workers unafraid to abuse the systems that be. Everything is about location location location… and politics.
The VA has no way to protect your records and why should they care when the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) don’t do a thing?
Then, they hire thugs. As I’m typing this, I boggles my mind why I have to explain to a MSPB AJ (and now the appellate court) that my coworker threatening to use guns against me is a terroristic threat and how me getting fired and the VA retaining her meets the legal equivalent of a “hostile work environment” and disparate treatment of “similarly situated employees”.
So this “thug”, she is still working at the VA and God knows what she is up to. Her and my self-declared pot-smoking coworkers. The other coworker who had unauthorized access to my medical records and also made multiple violations of other veterans’ records (i.e. leaving his computer unlocked, taking pictures/videos on his celphones of veterans’ information) – and, who appeared to was trying to cheat the IRS? He got a letter of reprimand and still works at the VA…while I got fired for reporting them.
I’m so upset. It’s hard for me to read this article. The VA hires and retains garbage and no one holds the VA accountable. They lied about me and talked about me like I’m a dog and the courts are disgusting. They rather screw you over and protect the thugs.
When news like this comes out – I’m not surprised. I experienced first hand how the VA doesn’t protect your records (including mine) and no one cares. I experienced first hand how they hire thugs with money and drug problems and how the union and the VA will fight you if you dare report these thugs. It’s like bizarro world at the VA…the insane running the asylum over there.
TaB your story is the exact same reason why there are zero whistle-blowers around here over the VA, civy care, corruption…the whole sheebang. I am trying to expose and share too what happens to people who stand up to any of it, or the networking of it all.
Hell. I am going to Guinness records. To my knowledge I am one of them that was told at the VA if I left, refused to sign their special contracts to take over my entire life, talked to us worse than dogs with threats, I’d never find health care in Indiana again. After all the damages done and games, I left and cut off all communications with the freaks and pathological psycho liars. Been months/years now and within two weeks of going to a local civy clinic and hospital I was getting the same games and med files being messed, plus a ton of harassment, etc. The hospital here for whatever reason for months has not forwarded my files to a new MD I’m trying to see. Played their games for months then went up, signed the forms, to get a copy for myself to hand carry…. nothing. After asking three times for a copy of my request form, she came back empty handed and skirted that issue too. Saying we will call you… nothing for weeks now. I don’t argue on other’s turf, I record. Now who on God’s green Earth has ever heard of such crap and ‘no-one’ wants involved or tells me it’s up to me to prove why or prove some kind of intent and why. It’s beyond ‘bizzaro.” And have not done one thing wrong to warrant all that’s happened since 2014. It’s the new ‘murika.’
Here in Hoosier land if one crosses or bruises the wrong cliques, egos, politician, union, whatever, could mean a life ending forever event here. Livelihood would be lost. At the VA there would be hell to pay in many ways just like town politics, from the unions, politicians, media, companies, the hoods, et al. One of the old sayings repeated while growing up here were.. “Don’t rock any of the boats.”
You can always go without records. I do it all the time. Just tell the dr VA has your file & you’ll try to get it. Usually the end of the issue.
Had operation MAYO Jacksonville May 3 for Aspergillus infection of spine. Released 6 days later 5mg oxycontin every 6 hours. Been taking it since 2010 pain management MAYO same dosage as I have other spinal problems. Also osteoarthritis. Then rehabilitation to learn to walk again. However Blue cross only allows limited time a song. Upon being transferred to a new facility near my significant other I was improving. Then about 5 day of OT PT. I was laid out not moving in extreme pain. Transferred to ORMC level 1 trauma hospital whereupon 8 mm keystone discovered. After surgery was told I have Blood borne MERSA. So I am being treated with picca into my aorta from my right arm for the infection Soon I will be stable. Will they take away my oxycontin 5mm? Want to go to Lake Nona or Winter Park VA here because of I think I can be walking in 6 months if I have good therapy. Will I die can I get free of them if I feel very scared of all this VA. I read here I am 70% will they take all my money. Here it is June 16 2018 and I am 67 retirement this was not even ever a problem. Till reality. Any Ideas folks or comments. THANKS!
Sorry Preston I haven’t kept up on the 70% thing. Heard no more about it lately.
Perhaps when your recovery improves they ‘may’ send you where you’re more comfortable and closer to loved ones. Seems like they would when your stable. That would be the more decent thing for them to do.
Pain meds? Hard telling. Be happy you’re not in Indiana. Surgeries or not you’d already been cut off regardless of the levels of pain. Well, unless one is connected, in a clique, etc.
Don’t be scared, be aware and proactive. Keep copies of everything possible or like some others do keep daily logs/diary for future references. All we can do is try to ride all the BS out. Just have a speedy recovery!!
With great freedom comes great personal responsibility. Their exist more American Criminals who merit the death penalty than those of almost any other nation. American freedom is but an illusion. Nothing but self will run riot. Should not be accepted by any intelligent society.
C’mon Ben? That crack don’t smoke itself. Illicit drug abuse is not the exclusive domain of street crud, no sireeee. Try to be a little more sensitive.
This problem can be solved very easy. Employee pilferage is a big problem across all entities. It is typically solved by: having an employee entrance and exit, examination of backpacks and purses coming and going and proactive management.
Why do va employees need to carry backpacks anyway?? They’re going to work, not camping or to school!!
yet another reason never to go anywhere near the VA for health care
Ain’t just the VA. Scott Pruit. and it all starts at the top. It has never been worse than now.
Long Beach V.A. has some real problems! I served a six month summer internship there in the E.R. in 1978, and some of the employees were really freaky! In 1988, a criminal mother/son team stole a deceased North Carolina veteran’s pickup and $10,000.00 from his patient account! It was only after the vet’s son drove all the way from North Carolina to investigate that this whole sordid mess was exposed! The V.A. criminals got a stinking 3-5 years in prison! A mere slap on the wrist!
Wow the VA definitely has some of the worst problems, and it continues to snowball not sure where it’s going to crash, but it doesn’t look good, corruption, fraud, malpractice, disingenuous people that the VA has hired or currently working and caring for our Veterans, the saga continues
Long Beach, where 4 veterans committed suicide together on the locked ward. Where my T3 was taken by an ER Nurse and not reported in the intake notes. Where I was tortured in pain without meds for a week before signing myself out and checking in to Palomar Hospital.
It Starts at the top. These addicts know they can get away with it because they have shit on the top of the heap.
At least the VA Police wasn’t in the bag too in this case.
I really hate the VA organization, the Loma Linda VA is the worst, they really don’t give a shit about any of the veterans there, this hospital needs to be investigated for fraud and for the murder of so many Veterans that have died in the hospital or have committed suicide in the VA itself, but they have kept it on the down low and don’t report it. The way they were doing this is by taking all our meds away and not treating us for our pain.
My experience with Loma Linda in Riverside was the same. I understand the contract CBO Loma Linda clinic in the Hospital in Murrieta is much better.
I would recommend a transfer to that clinic if possible.
Elsie Vergara, Lem, don’t worry, didn’t you read Marcee’s post on the article over the rainbow flag? She is working for a California congresswoman that is going to do sooooooo much for Veterans, and I am sure this congresswoman is sooooooooooo good, and will fix all this. Why hell, even “my kind” as Marcee, with the masters degree, puts it, is surely going to be impressed…..
Sorry, couldn’t help myself, forgive me for being so sarcastic, you know how “my kind” can be.
They’re doing that to vets who aren’t inpatient. It’s DT’s fault. He thinks opioids have no beneficial value. He’s pushing Congress & Congress is pushing VA to cut all vets off their pain meds. Even better VA came up with some quack junk science bullshit…. as in you’re in pain you just need a chakra cleanse. Yeah you read that right. If you don’t know what chakra is Google it & get ready for your jaw to drop. The VA has resorted to this. ????♀️ I’m telling you get choiced out or just straight leave & never go back. VA is NOT worth your life or sanity.
Applause to the cops taking their jobs seriously and catching that fool. But I am afraid with all the fraud/white collar crimes/ID – C card thefts, voter ID fraud going on and the public not being aware of most it because of our lousy media is far beyond worse than we think. Or led to believe. When I went through some close calls, debit card scanned and used was told these issues are very common. The crook in this article was one of those dumb ones apparently accustomed to breaking some laws like the plate issue.
Questions too. Would like to see a photo of the freak or are they going to hide the identity giving it’s California.
In such a short time how do they know for sure this hasn’t happened before? Especially with the many reports of foreigners casting fraudulent ballots or voting. Was he going to sell them, take them to a gang of thugs to be spread around the country? Get them out of country for use? Time will tell but I bet more gets buried than sees the light of day. They caught an idiot doing this, how about the more knowledgeable and intelligent crooks in the joint.
I am up trying to figure out all these HIPPA rules and such since locally they seem difficult to use or report by simple civilians or vets. Seems like there are a ton of hoops to jump through, plus proving “intent?” VA or not it seems again the ‘laws’ can be skirted easy enough and those top to bottom continue on doing what they do and are doing laughing at any laws or regulations, claims. Again…accountability concerning any of this, ie the back-ground checks, hiring, positions gained for access to records, inside help? It smells.
I agree! What about the more experienced crooks in VA? Seems we keep hearing about some stupid ASSHOLE taking our records, then getting caught. What about the ones that aren’t getting caught?
And, those “hippa violations” we hear about going on in the VA. How come those violations aren’t being prosecuted?
Just another day in McDonald’s Disney Land!
That’s nothing! Was one the phone with my new PCP had seen once. For my first visit he did zero except rolled his chair over and stepped on my brand new white sneakers and pulled my calf forward to check stability I guess? You know you can’t go to the VA every time you have a problem, I have joint problems everywhere except my elbows, no lie. So I take pictures between visits so hopefully can use to treat. So showed them and besides making a comment on my pain medication, he checked my out with his stethoscope.
So during the visit I asked three times for him to look at my back, nothing and I have bad anxiety and let go. So the next day I message him remind him about my back and send a picture of my lower back swollen and bruised, had bad fall. Of course no response and I’m just getting angry, even told my shrink not a good idea for me to speak to him until resolved. So I’m arguing, a ton more but keeping short, arguing that he didn’t look at my back or given an exam. He sternly say that he looked at my back, I give a run down of the visit and said there’s no way he looked at my back. So after 5-8 minutes whatever he goes to tell me he seen my back issues on my iPad!!!!
My troubles are 50x worse than that. I’m about ready to lose it. The last time was in September where my depression was so bad I didn’t get out of bed for 3 months crying, totaled about an hour out of bed includes everything like going to the bathroom. No idea how made. My life is already ruined, there’s no fixing and now I must deal with getting evaluated by my own pictures at a in house appointment.
He just got out of residency and is a DO studying physical medicine and rehab, now my PCP? I believe that the hospital made up the position and made vets taking opioids so he can take off, almost positive, why would he be a PCP? I think in big trouble. There is no one to help veterans, seriously. They don’t care because won’t get fired, sued because not their money and the VA doesn’t report negligence, they hire it. He seemed only to worry about meds and quickly with less than 2 months there he asked if he should refer me to be seen by an outside pain management firm. The VA reports opioid use is way down giving themselves awards! They don’t count the veterans being seen in the Choice Program. Hardy har har, I’m fucked.
Leave the VA go to real drs. You don’t have to put up with it. If you get SSDI or SSI you get Medicare. If your spouse gets SSDI or SSI you can also get Medicare. You can get both VA & SSDI @ same time. Otherwise, pay out of pocket. Your civ dr will work with you. Civ drs are night & day difference from VA. They’re nice & actually care about your well being. You can have that too. Please just get away from VA. When you get to your civ dr take all your non mental health meds bottles with you. If you have MRI reports (written) take that too. I would request the disc but a lot of civ drs only want the written report, but better safe than sorry. Tell the civ dr VA has your records & you’ll try to get them. From that point civ dr will ask you why you take each med so you tell him or her. In the meantime don’t go off about VA just state you didn’t like the treatment you got from VA & leave it @ that. If you start going off on VA you’ll lose s/him. Not the right way to start a relationship with a new dr. Be able to clearly articulate your issues & symptoms. If you have a caregiver take them with you to the first civ dr visit. There is hope outside VA. You just have to make the leap.
Comments are closed.