Two former employees of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center have alleged that they were pressured by supervisors to falsify medical records and appointment dates to hide evidence of delays in medical treatment that may have harmed VA patients. The former employees allege that were instructed to document in patient medical records that the patients had declined follow-up appointments when the patients had never been contacted to schedule the follow-up appointments.
One of the former VA employees was a supervisor in the Minneapolis VA Medical Center’s gastroenterology department and the other was a medical support assistant in the same department. Their VA department was responsible for scheduling colonoscopies intended to detect cancers and to schedule follow-up appointments with physicians if problems were detected. Their allegations of fraud are particularly serious inasmuch as some of the delays involved suspected colon cancer for which veterans may not have received proper and timely care and treatment. They allege that they were fired after making efforts to advise VA administrators regarding their serious allegations.
The former Minneapolis VA Medical Center employees further allege that they were instructed to keep a secret patient waiting list so that the problems would not be detected in the VA’s electronic medical records system.
On September 8, 2014, the VA’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) issued a report regarding the Minneapolis VA Heath Care System entitled “Community Based Outpatient Clinic and Primary Care Clinic Reviews at Minneapolis VA Health Care System Minneapolis, Minnesota” that stated, “The purpose of the review was to evaluate selected patient care activities to determine whether the community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) and primary care clinics (PCCs) provide safe, consistent, and high-quality health care for our veterans.”
Some of the OIG’s findings are as follows:
Staff did not provide education and counseling for 2 of 11 patients who had positive alcohol use screens.
We did not find documentation of the offer of further treatment for two of six patients diagnosed with alcohol dependence.
Treatment was not provided within 2 weeks of positive screening for two of eight patients.
We found that 21 (39 percent) of 54 RN Care Managers did not receive motivational interviewing training within 12 months of appointment to PACT.
We found that 10 (19 percent) of 54 RN Care Managers did not receive health coaching training within 12 months of appointment to PACT.
We did not find documentation that medication reconciliation included the newly prescribed fluoroquinolone in 5 (13 percent) of 39 patients’ EHRs.
We did not find documentation of medication counseling that included the fluoroquinolone in 5 (13 percent) of 39 patients’ EHRs.
If you or a loved one may have suffered serious injuries or death as a result of medical care received through the VA (or necessary medical care that was delayed or never provided by the VA), you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who handles medical malpractice claims against the VA who may investigate your VA medical malpractice claim for you and guide you and represent you with regard to complying with the requirements regarding bringing claims against the VA for medical negligence.
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