A government investigation into nine potentially dangerous doctors working for the Department of Veteran Affair is currently underway. The doctors in question have had numerous misconduct reports filed against them and the VA reportedly failed to conduct reviews of the doctors or to report their findings to a national database that collects such data.
The VA is required to report all new-hire doctors to a national database in order to verify their good standing in the medical field.
The Government of Accountability Office conducted an investigation and found that six were not reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, a database that collects conduct records and state licenses.
Many of these doctors crossed state lines in order to escape their checkered past, according to The Hill. Numerous doctors resigned during the investigation, which was prompted after years of complaints of abuse and negligence.
USA Today conducted an investigation of their own and found that one doctor, Thomas Franchini, has abused 88 veterans but never was fired and never had his medical license suspended or revoked.
The GAO reported that the lack of documentation of the doctors was concerning. “At one facility, we found that officials failed to report six providers to the (national database) because the officials were unaware that they had been delegated responsibility for … reporting,” they wrote.
The report referenced a large number of doctors, who were fired from their previous positions, were hired at VA facilities. These doctors had multiple misconducts and those seemed to carry over to their new positions within the VA.
“Until Veterans Health Administration (VHA) strengthens its oversight of these processes, veterans may be at increased risk of receiving unsafe care through the VA health care system.”
On Wednesday, VA officials were in front of lawmakers, who ridiculed their decision to withhold reports pertaining to the doctors they have hired. “I think you’re protecting your butts; that’s what I think’s happening,” Rep. Bruce Poliquin said. “This mismanagement is breathtaking.”
The VA has had negative press for the better part of 2017. Earlier this year, a report indicated that workers for a VA suicide hotline would let calls ring and not answer them. Until the VA gets its systems under control, veterans will continue to be the ones to pay the price.