#VAFail – VA knowingly hires physicians with troubled pasts
Last week the Government Accountability Office released a report confirming that the VA has repeatedly neglected to report poorly performing doctors to national databases and state licensing boards. Failure to report misconduct or malpractice resulted in doctors’ ability to obtain employment outside the VA health care system, potentially putting more patients in danger.
The VA is reportedly helping poor performers on the hiring side as well, according to a new report from USA Today. The outlet reported this week that the VA has knowingly hired doctors who have histories filled with malpractice suits, misconduct and even felonies. One of these doctors, neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, has more than a dozen malpractice claims under his belt in Montana and Wyoming, but was hired at the Iowa City VA anyway. For the record, in his application Schneider disclosed the claims and the fact that he had his medical license revoked in Wyoming after a surgical patient’s death.
The blame for that hiring is solely on the VA, who officials have determined hired Schneider illegally.
What have the ramifications been? Well, more alleged malpractice of course. One 65-year-old patient was brought in for brain surgery four times in a month. That patient later died of an infection. Another patient, 77-years-old, underwent three separate spinal surgeries, two to clean up infection from the first.
This seems not to be an isolated incident. A VA facility in Louisiana hired a psychologist with felony convictions who was later fired after being determined a “direct threat to others.” An Oklahoma VA hired a psychiatrist who was previously sanctioned for sexual misconduct. According to reports, that doctor later slept with a VA patient.
Lawmakers are responding with outrage, including a letter demanding answers on VA hiring practices from Iowa’s U.S. senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
A larger question that deserves an answer is why are veterans still trapped inside a health care system that knowingly puts them in dangerous hands? In the wake of scandal after scandal after scandal at the VA, shouldn’t we be demanding more choices for where veterans can seek their medical care? Or are we happy with the current process of selecting health care providers to practice medicine on our nation’s best?
You can call on lawmakers to give veterans the choice of VA or private sector medical care by supporting the Veterans Empowerment Act. Contact your elected official here!