Tag: VA

VA Gets Shorted $2.6B While Obama Regime Earmarks $4.5B For Syrian “Migrants”

VA Gets Shorted $2.6 Billion While Obama Admin Budgets $4.5 Billion On Syrian Migrants – Truth And Action

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House lawmakers say the Veterans Affairs Department’s $2.6 billion budget shortfall for this fiscal year is further proof of administrators’ incompetence and poor planning.

VA officials have a slightly different take, saying the shortfall is a sign of their extraordinary efforts to get veterans the medical care they need, regardless of the cost.

Either way, the department has a gigantic deficit to fill in the next three months.

It also could mean furloughs, hiring freezes and program cancellations if a solution can’t be found.

“We are going to do the right thing for veterans and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday. “But to succeed, we need the flexibility to use funds to meet veterans needs as they arise.”

Without that, he said, “we get to dire circumstances before August. We will have to start denying care to some veterans.”

Lawmakers were enraged that the department is only now informing them of significant shortfalls in this year’s budget, with the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

“I have come to expect a startling lack of transparency and accountability from VA over the last years,” said committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. “But failing to inform Congress of a multibillion-dollar funding deficit until this late in the fiscal year… is disturbing on an entirely different level.” – Source: Military Times

Meanwhile, back at the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest says the United States will direct $4.5 billion to help address the dire conditions inside Syria and in refugee camps scattered across the region. – Source: Breitbart

The money will come through the U.S. Agency for International Development and Congress will not have to approve the additional spending.

So, the Veterans face a $2.6 Billion shortfall in their health care, but the While House and Congress have found a whopping $4.5 Billion to ship over to help Syrians who are overrunning Europe.

Priorities are definitely in order at the White House and in the halls of Congress.

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VA Retaliated Against Disabled Veteran Because He Tried To Get Them To Find His Lost Claims Folder

Independent Agency Confirms: VA Retaliated Against Whistleblower – Daily Caller

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An independent federal agency has just determined that the Department of Veterans Affairs retaliated against whistleblower Bradie Frink because he tried to get the VA to find his lost claims folder.

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), retaliation started after Frink, a disabled veteran and employee at the Baltimore Regional Office (BRO) of the Veterans Benefits Administration, contacted Congress when he realized that the VA couldn’t add one of his children as a beneficiary to his disability payments. The reason? Employees couldn’t even locate his claims folder.

As policy, a veteran’s claim folder cannot be stored at the same office where that veteran works, in order to maintain impartiality. When Frink was hired as a clerk in February 2013, the VA attempted to move the folder out to another regional office, but soon discovered that it was lost, even though it appeared in the computer system. Frink initially made several requests, asking the VA to try and locate his folder.

He tried for months. Nothing worked. That’s when Frink decided to contact Sen. Barbara Mikulski on June 5, 2013, with a complaint that the VA was unable to make important service-connected disability payments to him and his family. Mikulski launched an inquriy and forwarded the complaint letter over to BRO, which sparked near immediate retaliation. Incidentally, during the time when Mikulski sent the letter over, BRO was being watched for how it was processing benefits claims.

VA officials started discussing ways to terminate Frink. They succeeded in firing him on July 12, 2013, during his probationary period, despite a clean performance record. Officials alleged that Frink engaged in misconduct, but OSC didn’t buy it.

“OSC’s investigation determined that the VA’s allegations about Mr. Frink lacked evidentiary support; management’s testimony was inconsistent and lacked candor; other witnesses did not corroborate the agency’s version of the events; and termination was an excessive penalty for the alleged misconduct,” the OSC said in a statement. “Further, OSC found one of the VA officials involved in Mr. Frink’s termination showed animus and all three officials involved had a clear motive to retaliate against him.”

With the OSC investigation in hand, VA officials have reinstated Frink with back pay, as well as damages for emotional distress. After a long, hard fight, Frink starts work again Tuesday, over two years after he was fired by supervisors.

“The constitutional right to petition Congress must be guaranteed for all Americans. Federal agencies cannot deny their employees this right even if it leads to scrutiny of their operations,” said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner in a statement.

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307,000 Vets Died Waiting For VA Health Care

Report: 307,000 Veterans Died Waiting For Veterans Affairs Healthcare – Weasel Zippers

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By the time the VA got around to it, they’d been dead for years.

(CNN) Hundreds of thousands of veterans listed in the Department of Veterans Affairs enrollment system died before their applications for care were processed, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The VA’s inspector general found that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency’s system for managing health care enrollment, there were more than 307,000 records that belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past.

In a response to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs’ request to investigate a whistleblower’s allegations of mismanagement at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center, the inspector general also found VA staffers incorrectly marked unprocessed applications and may have deleted 10,000 or more records in the last five years.

In one case, a veteran who applied for VA care in 1998 was placed in “pending” status for 14 years. Another veteran who passed away in 1988 was found to have an unprocessed record lingering in 2014, the investigation found.

Keep reading

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Obama VA Illegally Spending $6 Billion A Year

Veterans Affairs Improperly Spent $6 Billion Annually, Senior Official Says – Washington Post

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk, according to an internal memo written by the agency’s senior official for procurement.

In a 35-page document addressed to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the official accuses other agency leaders of “gross mismanagement” and making a “mockery” of federal acquisition laws that require competitive bidding and proper contracts.

Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, describes a culture of “lawlessness and chaos” at the Veterans Health Administration, the massive health-care system for 8.7 million veterans.

“Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,” he writes in the March memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post. He adds, “I can state without reservation that VA has and continues to waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices for goods and services due to breaches of Federal laws.”

Frye describes in detail a series of practices that he says run afoul of federal rules, including the widespread use of purchase cards, which are usually meant as a convenience for minor purchases of up to $3,000, to buy billions of dollars worth of medical supplies without contracts. In one example, he says that up to $1.2 billion in prosthetics were bought using purchase cards without contracts during an 18-month period that ended last year.

He also explains how VA has failed to engage in competitive bidding or sign contracts with outside hospital and health-care providers that offer medical care for veterans that the agency cannot provide, such as specialized tests and surgeries and other procedures. Frye says VA has paid at least $5 billion in such fees, in violation of federal rules that the agency’s own general counsel has said since 2009 must be followed.

Frye alleges further violations in the agency’s purchase of billions of dollars worth of prosthetics and in the acquisition of a wide range of daily medical and surgical supplies. He says many products are bought without the competitive bidding and contracts essential to ensure quality care, effective use of tight dollars and proper government oversight.

“These unlawful acts may potentially result in serious harm or death to America’s veterans,” Frye wrote. “Collectively, I believe they serve to decay the entire VA health-care system.”

VA spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said in a statement that some of the care the agency pays for is not covered by federal acquisition law. She also said that the agency is trying to manage rapid growth in medical care administered by outside providers, with authorizations for outside medical care jumping 46 percent in the first four months of 2015 over the same period last year.

Dillon said VA officials are urging Congress to pass legislation that would allow an “expedited form of purchasing care” for veterans who need to go outside the VA system. She said the bill “would also resolve legal uncertainties that have arisen” regarding the use of purchasing agreements other than those required by federal acquisition regulations.

VA has been under intense pressure to provide adequate care to the surge of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Frye makes clear in his memo that the agency’s violations of purchasing law have been going on for years and that senior leaders have had many opportunities to revamp their practices.

He discloses his repeated efforts to raise his concerns with other senior officials at the agency but says he was consistently ignored. He also accuses top agency officials of deceiving Congress when they were asked about questionable practices.

VA operates one of the largest health-care systems in the country, spanning 150 hospitals and more than 800 outpatient clinics. The agency has been struggling to serve not only the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also a surge in veterans who served in the 1960s and 1970s.

VA has been rocked since last year by revelations about long wait times for veterans seeking treatment for health issues including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder. McDonald’s predecessor, Eric K. Shinseki, resigned as VA secretary last year after a coverup of months-long hospital wait times became public, and Congress has given the system $10 billion in new funding to ramp up private medical care.

On Thursday, Frye will have a chance to explain his concerns directly to lawmakers. He is scheduled to testify before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee about waste and fraud in the purchase card program.

Frye, 64, is a retired Army colonel who has overseen VA’s acquisitions and logistics programs – one of the federal government’s largest – since 2005. In his role as the agency’s senior procurement executive, he is responsible for developing and supervising VA’s practices for acquiring services and supplies, but he is not in charge of making the purchases. A former Army inspector general, he has held senior acquisition positions over 30 years in government.

Some of his concerns were previously flagged by VA’s inspector general, who has reported for years that weak contracting systems put the agency at risk of waste and abuse. Thousands of pharmaceutical purchases were made without competition or contracts in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, often by unqualified employees, investigators found. And according to documents that have not been made public, the inspector general’s office has warned VA repeatedly that its use of purchase cards needs better oversight.

For the most part, Frye does not explain why the rules are so widely flouted. But he suggests, in this discussion of purchase cards, that the reason may be laziness. He calls these payments an “easy button” way of buying things. Frye told McDonald he became aware in 2012 that government purchase cards were being used improperly by VA. About 2,000 cards had been issued to employees who were ordering products and services without contracts, Frye recounts.

He said his concerns grew after learning that a supervisor in New York had recorded more than $50 million in prosthetics purchases in increments of $24,999 – $1 under the charging limit on each card. In a response to a member of Congress who inquired about the purchases, Shinseki had few answers. “No contract files exist” and “there is no evidence of full and open competition,” Shinseki wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.

Purchase cards, Frye says in his memo, can be a sufficient means of acquiring goods and services for “micro-purchases” up to $3,000. Above that limit, the cards can be used for payment only if there is a certified invoice linked to a properly awarded contract.

Frye’s concerns about payments for outside medical services are rooted in the reality that VA hospitals do not have the resources or specialists to provide all the treatment veterans require, such as obstetrics and joint replacements. For these services, VA normally refers veterans to a list of doctors or labs in their area.

The agency, Frye says, is required to identify providers through a competitive process and contract with them to ensure that the government pays reasonable prices and gets the best value and quality. And contracts help ensure veterans are legally protected if they get poor care or if a medical procedure goes wrong.

But according to Frye’s account, VA spent about $5 billion on outside medical care in both 2013 and 2014 in the absence of contracts, and such practices “extend back many years.” “Based on my inquiry in January 2013, [the Office of the General Counsel] confirmed in writing the fact VHA was violating the law,” Frye says.

Large medical systems similar to VA order many supplies in bulk through a list of approved vendors, identified through a competitive process, to ensure quick delivery for the best price. But VA’s system for these “just-in-time” purchases is deeply flawed, and this is yet another way that the agency wastes money, Frye says.

He writes that there are many types of supplies that are not covered by these arrangements. Instead, they are ordered off the shelf, without competition and for higher prices, from a “shopping list” containing 400,000 items, “indiscriminately and not in accordance” with acquisition laws.

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VA Officials Illegally Accessing Medical Records Of Whistleblowers In Order To Harass And Discredit Them

Shock Testimony: VA Officials Retaliate Against Whistleblowers By Illegally Accessing Their Medical Records – The Blaze

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An official at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Monday that Department of Veterans Affairs officials are known to be retaliating against VA whistleblowers by illegally going through their medical records, in an apparent attempt to harass and discredit these whistleblowers.

This surprising testimony from Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner was delivered at a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee hearing, which was called to discuss the problems whistleblowers face when they try to expose the ongoing failure of the VA to provide medical care to veterans.

In Lerner’s prepared testimony, she explained that many VA officials who try to reveal these problems are veterans themselves who are also seeking care at the VA. She said in some cases, VA officials try to retaliate by examining the medical records of these officials, and said this still happens – she called it an “ongoing concern.”

“In several cases, the medical records of whistleblowers have been accessed and information in those records has apparently been used to attempt to discredit the whistleblowers,” she said.

“We will aggressively pursue relief for whistleblowers in these and other cases where the facts and circumstances support corrective action,” she said.

One example of a veteran who believes his medical records were inappropriately accessed is Brandon Coleman, a Marine Corps veteran who sustained injuries to his right foot while he served. Coleman works at the VA system in Phoenix, and told TheBlaze he became a whistleblower after it became clear that someone illegally went into his medical records.

He said after he started publicizing the failures of his own office to properly treat veterans with suicidal tendencies, his own mental health was questioned by his superiors. As of this year, the VA has threatened to reduce his disability rating.

“I feel strongly that this proposal to reduce my benefits is nothing more than an additional retaliation against me because I came forward as a whistleblower,” he wrote in a March letter he gave to TheBlaze.

Coleman also added that his most recent attempts to ask who else might have gone though his medical records have been met with silence from the VA. Coleman has asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to look into his case.

The problem of VA officials illegally going into the medical files of their employees is one that has been noted before, but is also one that the VA was supposed to have been on the road to fixing by now. In 2010, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that a VA official was convinced that her superiors illegally went through her medical records, which led to comments at work about her psychological care.

That report found more than 14,000 privacy violations at the Pittsburgh center.

The Monday hearing indicated that the VA’s retaliation against whistleblowers continues, even though these stories have been around for years.

“I reiterate today… that the department has had and continues to have problems ensuring that whistleblower disclosures receive prompt and effective attention, and that whistleblowers themselves are protected from retaliation,” Meghan Flanz, director of the VA’s Office of Accountability Review, told the subcommittee Monday.

Lerner of the OSC said complaints of whistleblower retaliation are on the rise. She said her office hears complaints across the federal government, but said 40 percent of them now come from the VA.

“[T]he number of new whistleblower cases from VA employees remains overwhelming,” she said. “These cases include disclosures to OSC of waste, fraud, abuse, and threats to the health and safety of veterans, and also claims of retaliation for reporting such concerns.”

Both Flanz and Lerner told the committee that it will take a while to change the “culture” of the VA. But lawmakers have routinely dismissed that answer, and have called on VA Secretary Bob McDonald to start holding officials accountable for failing to provide health care service to veterans, or for attempts to retaliate against whistleblowers.

So far, however, McDonald has done little to forcibly remove these officials – just a handful have been fired, and some have been allowed to retire with full benefits.

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VA Patients Treated With Dangerous, Counterfeit Surgical Devices And Supplies

Hospital Horror: VA Patients Treated With Bogus Medical Equipment, Supplies – Washington Times

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Unauthorized and potentially counterfeit, dangerous surgical devices and medical supplies have flowed unchecked into the Department of Veterans Affairs supply chain and into VA operating rooms, according to internal agency correspondence from a major supplier who blamed new procurement rules.

The bogus supplies gained a foothold when the department started using reverse auctions to fulfill some contracts, according to both department officials and a 2012 memo from Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest medical device business.

In the memo, the company told the VA it was getting surgical supplies bought from unauthorized distributors through the so-called “gray market,” and said those supplies raised serious questions about patient safety, according to emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials also warned the VA that an ongoing corporate investigation into the gray market showed how some unauthorized sellers were passing off products stolen from other hospitals.

“We do not believe that the VA intended for its efforts to utilize new procurement tools such as reverse auctions to result in these outcomes,” a company official wrote.

The Johnson & Johnson memo included a list of seven gray market surgical supply purchases by agency medical centers in a half-dozen states. But the company made clear there were more examples across the VA.

The warnings were issued months after the VA had a fierce internal debate over using reverse auctions, which have sellers compete to offer goods or services at the lowest price.

A top contracting official, Jan Frye, had put a halt on reverse auctions earlier in 2012, citing a “groundswell” of complaints from VA suppliers. But within weeks, the VA reversed after fierce lobbying from FedBid, the politically connected contractor handling the VA’s reverse auction platforms.

An inspector general’s report earlier this year issued a scathing rebuke to the VA over its dealings with FedBid, and said a VA procurement official, Susan Taylor, had improper contacts with FedBid. The inspector general recommended FedBid be disbarred. Ms. Taylor resigned soon after the report.

Emails obtained by The Times show concerns about reverse auctions persisted.

According to Johnson & Johnson, a South Carolina VA facility received a delivery of “trocar” surgical devices from an unauthorized distributor that was sent to VA without a box and was instead wrapped in yellowed packaging and rubber bands.

“The product being sold may not have been stored properly (high temperature, high humidity, no pest control, etc.), which could create patient risk,” Paul B. Smith, government account director for the company, told the VA, explaining the results of an ongoing company investigation.

An internal VA advisory group also raised an alarm in 2012 in a closed meeting with VA’s senior procurement council, which is composed of the agency’s top acquisition officials. The group recommended that VA stop purchasing “clinically oriented products” through reverse auctions.

Among other issues, the advisory group said FedBid had blocked access to names and contact information for contracting officers. And FedBid officials weren’t qualified to handle clinical purchases, according to the group.

“They do not possess the clinical expertise to position themselves between the buyer and vendor,” the industry group wrote in a report, adding that some VA suppliers refused to participate in reverse auctions.

“As a result of limited participation, FedBid in some cases sourced products from unauthorized distributors,” the report stated. “This has both resulted in significantly increased costs and encouraged the use of ‘gray market’ or counterfeit products.”

In an email statement to The Washington Time, a FedBid spokesman said the company had “established measures to protect against unauthorized sellers and will suspend or remove sellers who attempt to undermine the integrity of the marketplace.”

The company also said that government contracting officers ultimately have a responsibility to ensure they’re buying the right products.

“As with every procurement process, whether it is a reverse auction, single source contract, or open tendering, each buyer has the responsibility to ensure that they are purchasing the right products for their customer,” FedBid spokesman Andres Mancini wrote in an email.

In an email on Friday responding to questions from The Times placed earlier this week, a VA spokeswoman said Johnson & Johnson raised the issue in 2012 with the Veterans Health Administration, which prompted the agency to initiate a validation process among small business suppliers.

Spokeswoman Genevieve Billia noted in an email that VA couldn’t say how often it finds counterfeit material, but noted, “VA has a process in place to identify such items that come in, sot that they do not get to the patient.”

In September, two years after Johnson & Johnson contacted the VA, the agency inspector general’s office issued a report substantiating several of the concerns.

Contractors taking part in reverse auctions needed only to “self certify” that they’re authorized distributors of official surgical products sought by VA, according to auditors. The lack of more stringent requirements put VA at risk of buying from unauthorized distributors, according to the report.

In a written response to the inspector general’s report this year, VA officials agreed with a recommendation to ensure against the purchase of gray market items.

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Over 500 Grievous Injuries Or Deaths Resulting From Poor Care Occurred At VA Hospitals In 2013

Over 500 Grievous Injuries Or Deaths At VA Hospitals In 2013 – Washington Free Beacon

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Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country reported more than 500 incidents last year where patients were gravely injured or died as a result of the care they received.

Data obtained by the WashingtonFree Beacon through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows 575 “institutional disclosures of adverse events” – the bureaucratic phrase for reporting a serious mistake – at VA hospitals in fiscal year 2013.

See the data here.

According to the Veterans Health Administration ethics handbook, such disclosures are required when “an adverse event has occurred during the patient’s care that resulted in or is reasonably expected to result in death or serious injury.”

Specifically, adverse events are defined by the department as “untoward incidents, diagnostic or therapeutic misadventures, iatrogenic injuries, or other occurrences of harm or potential harm directly associated with care or services provided” by the VA.

How many of the 575 “adverse events” reported last year resulted in patient deaths is unknown. It is also unclear how 2013 compared to previous years. The Free Beacon has filed another FOIA request seeking this information.

“Until VA leaders make a serious attempt to address the department’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability, I fear we’ll only see more of these lapses in care,” Rep. Jeff Miller (R., Fla.), the head of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement to the Free Beacon.

“Like other hospital systems, VA isn’t immune from human error – even fatal human error,” Miller said. “But what the department does seem to be immune from is meaningful accountability. Given that these tragic events are part of a pattern of preventable veteran deaths and other patient-safety issues at VA hospitals around the country, it’s well past time for the department to put its employees on notice that anyone who lets patients fall through the cracks will be held fully responsible.”

The VA came under intense scrutiny from Congress and the media this year after whistleblowers revealed thousands of veterans were placed on secret wait lists and dozens died awaiting treatment.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned earlier this year as a result of the uproar that followed. The department also ordered a nationwide audit of its consulting practices.

The VA also disclosed in April that, since 1999, 76 patients were seriously injured because of delayed gastro-intestinal cancer screenings, and 23 died.

Medical privacy laws strictly bar from disclosure the names of patients and other details, making it difficult to document individual cases. However, the data obtained by the Free Beacon gives a broad view of serious mistakes at VA hospitals over the past year.

Gainesville

The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla., reported 31 “adverse events” during fiscal year 2013, the most of any VA facility.

The VA also confirmed two patients died at North Florida/South Georgia system, where the Gainesville hospital is located, due to delayed cancer screenings.

The system is the busiest in the country, serving roughly 125,000 VA patients per year.

VA hospitals have struggled to handle the flood of new patients in the years following 9/11, especially after the troop drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.

However, numerous congressional investigations and internal audits by the VA also describe a corrosive work environment, where leadership encouraged staff to cook the books to meet performance standards and where whistleblowers were harshly punished.

Three VA officials in Gainesville were placed on leave this year after an audit by the VA Inspector General found the hospital was using a secret paper list to keep track of appointments.

There were also allegations that surgeons were not allowed to perform certain operating room procedures to avoid increased mortality rates, and that patients with a high mortality risk were sent to a local hospital. However, the VA Inspector General said in a report Monday it could not substantiate those claims.

The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center did not return requests for comment.

Pittsburgh

The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System reported 26 disclosures in fiscal year 2013.

CBS reported earlier this year that the Pittsburgh VA failed to warn patients of a fatal Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. At least six veterans died and 16 fell ill from February 2011 to November 2012 as a result of the outbreak, while leadership tried to insulate the hospital from the Centers for Disease Control and congressional investigations.

A Pittsburgh VA official later falsely testified before Congress that the outbreak was the result of the city’s water treatment, when in fact the hospital had known for more than a year that it was caused by human error.

Augusta

The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., reported 14 “adverse events” during fiscal year 2013, and three cancer patients died as a result of delayed screenings over the past two years.

According to a 2012 report from the VA Inspector General’s Office, five patients died or sustained serious injury as a result of mismanagement between 2007 and 2010, and more than 4,500 gastrointestinal endoscopy consults went unresolved.

A recent VA audit reported that 26 new patients in Augusta had to wait at least 90 days for an appointment. Additionally, 133 veterans were not scheduled for an appointment despite requesting one in the past 10 years.

Since then, Augusta officials say they have reduced the number of veterans waiting at least 90 days for an appointment from 26 patients to two.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson toured the center last week, as part of a national tour of VA facilities, and said much of the scheduling problems were due to staff shortages.

“It should not take so darn long to hire someone,” Gibson said. “We need to make sure we’re talking to staff more frequently and understanding their needs. The employees here truly care.”

There are currently four open federal investigations into whistleblower retaliation at the hospital.

Columbia

In Columbia, S.C., the William Jennings Bryan Dorn veterans hospital reported 13 serious mistakes in patient care during fiscal year 2013. There have been six total deaths since 1999 due to delayed cancer screenings, according to the VA report.

A February report by the VA Inspector General found the Dorn hospital faced staffing and equipment shortages that led to delays. The report also noted that Dorn ranked 127th out of 128 VA facilities in health care-associated infections during 2013.

In response, the Dorn VA hospital agreed said it was immediately taking steps to fix the problems.

The hospital reported four more “institutional disclosures” in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014.

The Dorn VA hospital did not return requests for comment.

Wrongful death payments

Another measure of how patients are killed or gravely injured due to VA mistakes is wrongful death payments.

The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville has made more than $5 million in wrongful death payments in the years since 9/11, according to data from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Overall, the Department of Veterans Affairs has paid out more than $200 million in wrongful death payments since then. But it is also an incomplete look at the problem.

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, “independent legal analysts say the nearly 1,000 wrongful death payments in the decade after 9/11 represent a small percentage of the veterans who have died because of malpractice by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Eddie Creed, a Seattle-area jazz musician, died in 2012 at a VA facility after a medical device malfunctioned and emptied a lethal dose of morphine into his body. The medical device had been recalled a month earlier.

Creed’s death certificate said he was killed by throat cancer.

The VA refused to release the details of an internal investigation into the accident to Creed’s family until after local news outlet KUOW investigated the incident.

The VA Inspector General found that the Dorn VA hospital failed to peer-review numerous patient deaths – many of them shortly after surgeries – that met the criteria for review. The hospital has since gone back and reviewed those deaths.

The Department of Veterans Affairs did not immediately return a request for comment for this article.

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‘They Said His Soul Was Gone’: Wife’s Outrage After Unconscious Vet Was Pronounced DEAD At VA Hospital – Daily Mail

A woman in Kentucky is demanding answers from a local VA hospital after she claims her husband was erroneously pronounced dead.

According to Jennifer Dunn, doctors at the Lexington VA Hospital assured her last week that her husband, Danny Dunn, was no longer among the living.

The wife was given her husband’s time of death, but when she went into his room to bid a final farewell, she found Mr Dunn with a strong heart rate and blood pressure.

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It all started last Thursday morning when 46-year-old Danny Dunn, an U.S. Army veteran, was discovered unconscious by his wife in their Central Kentucky home.

The former soldier was rushed to a hospital in Harrodsburg and was later airlifted to the VA Hospital in Lexington, where medical personnel pronounced him dead.

‘I said, “Are ya’ll sure he’s gone?” and they said, “There’s no pulse, ma’am, he’s gone,”‘ Jennifer Dunn told LEX18.

In accordance with her husband’s end-of-life wishes, Mrs Dunn made the decision to take him off life support, but she quickly discovered that Danny still had vital signs.

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As of Monday, the 46-year-old veteran was very much alive, and according to his wife, apparently growing stronger.

‘He squeezed my hand when I asked him to,’ she said. ‘He opened his eyes when I asked him to. And he grabbed my hand.’

The Dunn family now want the ailing husband and father transferred to another hospital for treatment.

The VA facility in Lexington released a general statement to the local TV station, which read in part: ‘Veterans can have confidence that our staff of dedicated and professional providers is committed to working with them and their families to honor their wishes and support their needs.’

But the Dunns are far from satisfied with the hospital’s response to the near-fatal blunder.

‘They said his soul was gone and that he wasn’t living no more,’ said Dunn’s son, Tyler. ‘That he was gone long before we got him there… I mean we’re just looking for answers and they won’t give us any.’

This case is yet another black eye for the beleaguered VA system, which has faced public scrutiny in connection to explosive allegations of poor – and at times non-existent – medical care offered to servicemen and women.

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The VA’s inspector general has confirmed that at least 35 veterans died while awaiting appointments at the agency’s Phoenix medical center alone.

The resulting election-year firestorm forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in May. A half-dozen other VA officials have resigned or retired since then.

More than 8million of the nation’s 21million veterans are now enrolled in VA health care, although only about 6.5million seek VA treatment every year.

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