USA TODAY has released a story on its investigation revealing that for years the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs concealed mistakes and misdeeds by staff members entrusted with caring for veterans.
In some cases, agency managers do not report troubled practitioners to the National Practitioner Data Bank, making it easier for them to keep working with patients elsewhere. The agency also failed to ensure VA hospitals reported disciplined providers to state licensing boards.
American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan issued the following statement in response to the issues raised in USA Today’s story:
“It is unconscionable that VA staff would cover up mistakes or malpractice by VA clinicians. This is exactly why The American Legion pressed Congress to provide the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs increased authorities to protect whistleblowers and hold medical providers and staff accountable for their performance. We are very concerned about the lack of transparency in these cases and the reports that poorly performing medical providers were not reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank. We are encouraged that Secretary Shulkin ordered all future settlement deals with employees involving payments over $5,000 be approved by top department level officials, and call on the VA to review and enforce their policy of reporting providers to the National Practitioner Data Bank.”