U.S. Capital

Report Reveals VA Concealed Poor Care, Paid Millions in Settlements to Problem Employees

Nov 10, 2017

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 10, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been accused of hiding serious mistakes made by medical professionals for years, allowing them to secure jobs elsewhere outside the VA system.

A USA Today investigation examined hundreds of confidential VA records from 2014 and 2015. It found the VA paid almost $6.7 million in secret settlements to resolve cases with employees who were either fired or forced to retire due to poor performance. The settlements involved VA workers at over 100 facilities in 42 states.

“Secretary David Shulkin has promised more accountability and transparency at the VA,” commented Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “However, the results of this investigation reveal yet another cover-up in which problem employees seem to get away with harming veterans without suffering any real consequences. The VA needs to take steps to prove that it is indeed committed to cracking down on employee misconduct.”

The report cited numerous cases in which doctors, nurses and other medical staff were paid large settlements upon removal from the VA. In many instances, the VA allegedly agreed to conceal misconduct, negligence, dangerous medical errors and other reasons for their departure. According to USA Today, the VA failed to report problem employees to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) or state licensing boards, enabling them to find work in the private sector after leaving the agency.

In one case, the VA admitted it took years to inform veterans about substandard care they received from podiatrist Thomas Franchini at the Togus VA hospital in Maine. The VA denied accusations by six veterans who said the agency concealed the findings to avoid lawsuits.

Franchini was allowed to quietly resign in 2010 after botched surgeries that harmed veterans in 88 cases. A VA spokesperson said the agency told him to step down or face being fired. He now works as a podiatrist in New York City.

Following the USA Today investigation, VA Secretary David Shulkin said future settlements with employees involving payments of over $5,000 will require approval from top Washington officials. The VA will also revise its policy of reporting only certain medical professionals to the national database that monitors problem workers.

Learn more at http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

  • The VA modifies enrollment timeframe of benefits delivery for the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program
    Veterans will now be able to get disability compensation faster upon leaving the military under new rules enforced by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from Oct. 1. The VA announced service members who wish to submit disability claims prior to discharge are required to enroll in the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program at least […]
  • VA secretary pushes for continued medical research on dogs to help disabled veterans
    The controversial subject of animal research has been thrust into the spotlight due to a spending bill passed by the House with the potential to ban the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from conducting medical experiments on dogs. The VA is defending the practice as a key part of the agency’s pursuit of medical innovation […]
  • Scientists say blood tests could help diagnose PTSD
    A simple blood test could soon be used to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to new research. PTSD is currently only diagnosed through symptoms that people report themselves. However, diagnosis can be difficult as veterans and others who have the condition are often reluctant to discuss it. Researchers at the University of Maastricht in […]
  • Social Security blames VA for millions in improper payments to dead veterans
    A report from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) inspector general revealed that more than $37 million in erroneous payments were issued to deceased veterans. Hundreds of veterans have continued to receive SSA benefits despite being dead for years. The audit found over 3,900 cases in which beneficiaries were still getting regular payments despite being listed […]