Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Administration’
More than 500 veterans in Ohio are being contacted by a clinic where they may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV during routine dental work, according to Ohio Veterans Affairs communications officer Todd Sledge.
The Dayton, Ohio, VA clinic is contacting 535 veterans who received treatment during an 18-year period from a dentist who admitted to not washing his hands or changing gloves between patients. There are 100 to 130 additional patient records still to review, according to Sledge.
“We’re taking a very aggressive approach and a well-planned intervention to make sure that we’re contacting these folks,” Sledge said…
Individuals sought by the center are known to have been treated directly by the clinician between January 1, 1992, and July 28, 2010, according to a release by the medical center.
The center is offering free tests to those involved and the clinic will provide all necessary care and treatment without charge should a veteran test positive for the viruses, Sledge said.
While Sledge said the testing stemmed from “invasive procedures … done by one single clinician,” He did not identify that clinician and he did not release specifics about the clinician’s health…
Last year the clinic closed for a month for “re-education on infection control standards” for the staff, Sledge said.
That’s a polite way to say, “you lazy SOB’s have been putting our patients in danger!”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request.
The amendment to Prudential’s contract is the first document to show how VA officials sanctioned a payment practice that has spurred investigations by lawmakers and regulators. Since 1999, Prudential has used so-called retained-asset accounts, which allow the company to withhold lump-sum payments due to survivors and earn investment income on the money for itself.
The Sept. 1, 2009, amendment to Prudential’s contract with the VA ratified another unpublicized deal that had been struck between the insurer and the government 10 years earlier — one that was never put into writing, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue…
For a decade, until the contract was formally changed, Prudential wasn’t fulfilling its obligations to survivors of fallen service members, says Brendan Bridgeland, an insurance lawyer who runs the non-profit Center for Insurance Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“It’s very clear they violated the original terms of the contract,” says Bridgeland, who is retained by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to represent consumers.
“Every veteran I’ve spoken with is appalled at the brazen war profiteering by Prudential,” says Paul Sullivan, who served in the 1991 Gulf War as an Army cavalry scout and is now executive director of Veterans for Common Sense…
That the VA allowed Prudential to issue retained-asset accounts for 10 years while the contract required lump-sum payouts is “more evidence that the VA was asleep at the wheel for a decade,” says Sullivan, who was a project manager and analyst at the VA from 2000 to 2006.
“When grieving families check the box that they want a lump sum, they should get it. We remain disappointed and irate at the VA’s failure to provide advocacy for veterans,” he says.
RTFA for the details. It’s long and there are a lot of details.
They all come down to one thing: The Pru made a ton of extra profits at the expense of veterans’ widows and orphans. They provided accounts that didn’t even have FDIC insurance. They hustled folks who thought they were getting a lump sun insurance settlement. All of this was accomplished on a handshake with the bureaucrats in charge of the Veterans Administration.
It stinks on ice!
VFW employee creates paperless office – but, didn’t know you were supposed to make digital copies before shredding originals!
George Wincapaw thought he was getting some strange requests from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The 63-year-old Vietnam War veteran had had several heart attacks since leaving the Navy, submitting enough paperwork on them to amass a two-volume file at the Veterans Benefits Administration office. But in response to his most recent claim, submitted earlier this year, the office was requesting copies of medical records Wincapaw had already submitted.
Curious, he traveled from his home in Oconomowoc to the VA regional offices in Milwaukee to look at his medical file. What he found shocked him.
He wasn’t providing duplicates. Dozens of his medical records were missing.
Then the public contact representative with whom he was reviewing his file broke the news: An employee had been fired from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wincapaw’s representative agency, for destroying veterans’ records.
An official with the state VFW, which handles thousands of such cases a year, told Public Investigator the employee had shredded nearly all its veterans files – no one knows how many – after making a unilateral decision to go “paperless…”
Steve Lawrence, speaking for the group, admitted that Lee Guerrero, who represented veterans on their claims, was fired in August 2009 for shredding all of their claimant files in the VFW service office.
He did not keep electronic copies of the documents, either…
“He just thought going paperless meant getting rid of the files . . . It cost him his job as soon as we found out about it,” Lawrence said.
RTFA. Explains other stuff you may find interesting as well.
Dumbest part? Employees who complained about what Guerrero was doing – were told to shut up. They weren’t high enough up the food chain to get anyone to listen to them.
A top Veterans Administration administrator has promised to provide case managers to each of the 1,812 Missouri and Illinois veterans exposed to infection through improperly sterilized equipment at John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.
Dr. Robert Petzel, VA undersecretary for health, made the promise during a special hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs…acknowledging that some vets in the group of 1,812 do show signs of hepatitis, but it is unclear whether the infections were picked up at the dental clinic or elsewhere.
Petzel’s tone was apologetic as he faced a barrage of harsh criticism from committee members as well as tough questions from U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.
Both metro-east congressmen said they were frustrated with the slow way the VA responds to problems and punishes whistleblowers who brings these problems to the attention of VA administrators.
Costello recalled how in 2008 no administrators were fired at the Marion VA Hospital, despite evidence that showed nine veterans there died because of substandard care.
“No one is really held accountable,” Costello said. “Except, Mr. Costello, a whistleblower,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the panel chairman.
Filner was alluding to the case of Earlene Johnson, a medical supply technician at the Cochran hospital. For months in 2009, Johnson tried to warn her supervisors of the problems with the sterilization of dental equipment at the hospital, but to no avail.
Johnson was fired in November.
I’ve worked with truly responsible and professional VA hospitals. My closest friend spent years in and out of VA hospitals in southern New England dealing with battlefield injuries from WW2 – and generally had top notch attention. The exception being short spells of beancounteritis during the first years of any Republicans landing in the White House.
One of my favorite kin was a VA physician for pretty much all his career and felt it was the best way to serve his country and his fellow veterans.
There needs to be sound inspection on a par with the JCAH accreditation surveys – when it comes to bureaucrats. And – as ever – protection within our government for whistleblowers instead of retaliation.