Senate Investigation Finds Systemic Failures at VA
A recent Senate investigation of poor healthcare claims at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wisconsin is raising questions about the ability of the organization to provide adequate healthcare to veterans on a nationwide scale. The inspector general’s office has been charged with discounting key evidence, and witness testimony, and determining no standard for wrongdoing. In one case, the inspector general neglected to release an investigation report which concluded a case where two providers at a facility had been prescribing high levels of narcotics to patients, earning at least one the nickname, “Candy Man,” and causing death by overdose of a 35 year old Marine Corps veteran. Apparently, just days before the Marine Corps veteran’s death, an opiate had been prescribed in addition to 14 other drugs. If the report had been released, VA officials would have been forced to address the issue publicly, with a follow up by the inspector general to make sure the VA took action. When questioned, the lead investigator for this report stated that he did not feel the need to release his findings, because the evidence in the case was inconclusive. “I do not publish reports that repeat salacious allegations that I can’t support,” he told senate investigators. “So to write a report with all sorts of accusations that I can’t support and throw that into a small community destroys the community, and destroys the VA.” “The reasons the problems were allowed to fester for so many years is because in the inspector general’s office, for whatever reason, for years, the inspector general lacked the independence and had lost the sense of what its true mission was, which is being the transparent watchdog of the VA system.” Said the investigative committee chairman, Senator Ron Johnson. The Senator also called the wrongdoing “systemic,” and indicative of a troubling pattern. The Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that reviews whistleblower reports of wrongdoing, has heavily scrutinized the VA following recent investigations in Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas. The VA has since replaced the inspector general, yet many of the lead investigators that failed to release the results of 140 healthcare investigations still remain in their positions.
If you have suffered due to negligent actions by the VA, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are there for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.