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Newly Published VA Reports Reveal Shocking Malpractice, Concern Lawmakers

May 30, 2015

More than 120 VA reports that had previously been unpublished have recently been made public, uncovering some shocking instances of malpractice in VA medical facilities throughout the U.S. These reports, some of which date back to 2006, were posted by VA Assistance Inspector General John Daigh on the VA inspector general’s website in April 2015.

Daigh reportedly published the reports due to mounting criticism regarding the results of VA investigations – and, in particular, the investigation into the Tomah Wisconsin VA Medical Center.

According to Daigh, the allegations that the VA has failed to be transparent are baseless. Daigh has explained that VA investigations are regularly closed for various reasons, including that facilities have taken steps to address an issue, litigation has been initiated and/or there was insufficient evidence for a given claim/complaint.

A Look at the Findings of the VA Reports

Some of the most noteworthy findings of the investigations associated with the recently published VA reports were as follows:

  • In a San Diego VA emergency room, a veteran was given an antacid and died of a heart attack the next day.
  • At several facilities, including the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Valdosta, Georgia, female patients were being overprescribed psychiatric medication.
  • At the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, a physician was regularly prescribing controlled substances at rates that were “significantly higher than his peers.”
  • At various facilities, surgical mishaps led to patients being set on fire, and cancers went undiagnosed (causing the disease to spread in some cases).

Additionally, the VA reports have revealed that personnel problems in VA facilities throughout the U.S. have compromised patient health and safety on many occasions.

Lawmakers Respond

Although Daigh has tried to reassure legislators that all closed VA investigation reports can be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, many remain skeptical. In fact, both the House and Senate VA committees have intensified their oversight of the VA and its inspector general office.

Expressing lawmakers’ concerns regarding VA facilities, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., has stated:

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson recently said, ‘I don’t expect anybody to give that trust back, I expect we’re going to have to earn it back,’ If VA truly wants to be transparent and open, one of the first things it needs to do is to stop impeding this committee’s oversight investigations.

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