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VA knowingly hires clinicians with problem pasts


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I was always glad when I had other alternatives when the VA was at its worst in the 70s and 80s. We have a regional VA hospital here in Shreveport. I was amazed at how long I had to wait for appointments and the lack of friendly interactions. That was then, and since, the local hospital was added to, with a new mental health wing, and a complete renovation inside.

In 1975 the Army, faced with an all volunteer post-Vietnam recruitment problem solved it by changing names and enlisting ex cons and other undesirables by changing a letter in the last name or dropping a Jr. They had all kinds of problems until they began to fix it in the mid 80s.

It appears the VA health professional recruiters are using many of the same tactics to fill their health care provider vacancies, and the story is a shock.

Excerpt from USA Today dated today:

"Neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider racked up more than a dozen malpractice claims and settlements in two states, including cases alleging he made surgical mistakes that left patients maimed, paralyzed or dead.

He was accused of costing one patient bladder and bowel control after placing spinal screws incorrectly, he allegedly left another paralyzed from the waist down after placing a device improperly in his spinal canal. The state of Wyoming revoked his medical license after another surgical patient died.

Schneider then applied for a job earlier this year at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. He was forthright in his application about the license revocation and other malpractice troubles.

But the VA hired him anyway.

He started work in April at a hospital that serves 184,000 veterans in 50 counties in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

Some of his patients already have suffered complications. Schneider performed four brain surgeries in a span of four weeks on one 65-year-old veteran who died in August, according to interviews with Schneider and family members. He has performed three spine surgeries on a 77-year-old Army veteran since July — the last two to try and clean up a lumbar infection from the first, the patient said.

Schneider’s hiring is not an isolated case. 

A VA hospital in Oklahoma knowingly hired a psychiatrist previously sanctioned for sexual misconduct who went on to sleep with a VA patient, according to internal documents. A Louisiana VA clinic hired a psychologist with felony convictions. The VA ended up firing him after they determined he was a “direct threat to others” and the VA’s mission."

How did that happen? What is being done? Go to the original article here for more:



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I think all the elected officials should be require to get health care at the VA wether they are vets or not and not be able to use their own name so they could be easily recognized so they would not be assigned to the better practicianers and surgeons.  That might get their attention. Maybe even require their children and spouses to get care there. 

I am just trying to make a point with this post especially about the spouses and children. And to be "fair and balanced" and not "fake" news I will state I have had some wonderfull care at the VA and some pretty crappy care sometimes all in the same day.

BTW rv, thanks for reminding me (not):) as I may be under the knife soon.


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That was good.

So I just called to check because I had not heard back like they said they would when they called me. (The choice program where they make an appointment outside the VA because they can not get to you in a timely manner.)   And surprise surprise surprise, they asked me if I had made the appointed they set up for me.  And of course they never told me about it.  When I was in Albquerque they made me an appointment to see a Dr. about 800 miles away. When the VA does good its great but when they screw up they are good at that too.

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Marion Illinois had the same problem about 10 years ago. One of Two doctors they hired lost his license in 3 states.

Nine deaths in about 4 months ( one of the fellows was a friend). 18 or 19 deaths total before they stopped surgery for about 3 years. Bottom line if you search Marion Illinois VA you will see  they are being investigated again.

Sen Durbin's visits in the past has not produced positive  results. Ladies and Gentleman, The VA SHOULD be example of Federal Health Care at its Best

I hope WQAD-TV keeps investigating this and other occurrences as an investigation proceeds.


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On 12/12/2017 at 11:34 AM, Pieere said:

I hope that the VA does find the unfit Doctors and providers! However, some of the Civilian Doctors and providers are unfit to practice also! Look it up!

We have to be vigilant and do sometimes extensive research!


Yes we do have to be vigilant. But the unfit VA Docs were found to have been obvious and slipped through with the approval of VA HR that knew. Did you read the article?

Are you saying we should not screen the doctors who are hired by the VA as little as a Doctor who opens a practice and is not found out until he is sued or arrested?

Whataboutism is rampant today, but diverting the conversation with a flawed comparison with civilian docs is disingenuous, and here is why.

If you use a civilian private practice doctor he does not change depending on your team color. You do choose your doctor.

In the VA system you are assigned a doctor and have to assume the VA did due diligence in screening and vetting the docs. I always prefer military hospitals and docs on the road because the military is singularly unforgiving of doctor errors. They are subject to the human reliability program AFAIK too. I was a medic for five years, lab tech for three, and a supervisor in medical ward, surgical ward, as well as OB/GYN ward. I see a lot most miss and have stopped using the local Shreveport VA regional hospital. I have TFL and use my own doctors and choose my own specialists without getting permission from the system. We were Tricare standard for the same reason, we could afford the catastrophic cap, and preferred to actually be able to get an appointment the same day or reasonably soon instead of having the use the one or two specialists used by everyone on Tricare Prime here in the Barksdale AFB area. Then when they had no specialist approved they acted like it was my fault my condition or medication fell outside their system and made me wait even longer to get permission for out of system docs and drugs. And once or twice tried to charge me more because they had no specialist that they had under contract.

None of it is perfect. But we should be able to get doctors that are at least minimally qualified that the VA hired.

I believe our veteran's deserve the best and failing that, at least the qualified with no bad records.

Read the article if you think you disagree.

Edited by RV_
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And now this:

Illegal VA policy allows hiring since 2002 of medical workers with revoked licenses

"The Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed its hospitals across the country to hire health care providers with revoked medical licenses for at least 15 years in violation of federal law, a USA TODAY investigation found.

The VA issued national guidelines in 2002 giving local hospitals discretion to hire clinicians after “prior consideration of all relevant facts surrounding” any revocations and as long as they still had a license in one state.

But a federal law passed in 1999 bars the VA from employing any health care worker whose license has been yanked by any state.

Hospital officials at the VA in Iowa City, Iowa, relied on the illegal guidance earlier this year to hire neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, who had revealed in his application that he had numerous malpractice claims and settlements and Wyoming had revoked his license after a patient death. He still had a license in Montana.

The VA moved to fire Schneider Nov. 29 after inquiries about his case from USA TODAY. He resigned instead. The VA said at the time that Iowa City hospital officials had received “incorrect guidance” green-lighting his hiring in April. The agency conceded this week that it was national policy.

VA Secretary David Shulkin said in an interview that he has ordered the re-writing of the guidelines and launched a nationwide review to identify and remove any other health care workers with revoked licenses.

“It's very clear to me that our job is to have the best quality doctors that we can provide to take care of veterans, and that’s going to be our policy,” he said.

Shulkin said health care providers with prior sanctions against their medical licenses short of revocation — suspensions or reprimands, for example — also will be reviewed to ensure they are providing quality care to veterans at the VA.

The USA TODAY investigation published earlier this month found that in addition to hiring Schneider, VA hospitals have knowingly hired other health care providers with past license discipline. In some cases, they have gone on to harm veterans.

A VA hospital in Oklahoma hired a psychiatrist previously sanctioned for sexual misconduct who went on to sleep with a VA patient. The VA in Tomah, Wis., hired a psychiatrist previously disciplined for medication violations who went on to over-prescribe narcotics to veterans. A Louisiana VA clinic hired a psychologist with felony convictions. The VA ended up firing him after determining he was a “direct threat to others” and the VA’s mission."

Source article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/21/va-policy-years-allows-hiring-medical-workers-revoked-licenses-violatiohiring-policy-breaks-breaks-l/971058001/



Edited by RV_
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