In another shocking neglect of America’s military men and women, the Department of Veterans Affairs was caught hiring medical workers with expired licenses for the past 15 years.
The revelations surfaced after an investigation by USA Today found that, since 2002, the VA directed local hospitals to use discretion in hiring clinicians—even if they’d had their medical licenses revoked.
Worst of all, this is a direct violation of a 1999 federal law making it illegal for the VA to hire workers whose licenses had been revoked—even if only by 1 state.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 21, 2017
Instead of following the law, they chose to allow the hiring of ineligible clinicians as long as there was “prior consideration of all relevant facts surrounding” the revocation of their medical licenses and as long as they still had a permit to work in 1 state.
The shocking discoveries show the tragic depths to which the VA was willing to sink at the expense of veterans’ health.
As reported by USA Today:
“Hospital officials at the VA in Iowa City relied on the illegal guidance earlier this year to hire neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, who had revealed in his application that he had numerous malpractice claims and settlements and Wyoming had revoked his license after a patient death. He still had a license in Montana.
“The USA TODAY investigation published earlier this month found that in addition to hiring Schneider, VA hospitals have knowingly hired other health care providers with past license discipline. In some cases, they have gone on to harm veterans.
“USA TODAY reported that the malpractice claims against Schneider included cases alleging he made surgical mistakes that left patients maimed, paralyzed or dead, and that his veteran patients in Iowa already have suffered complications. One of those patients, 65-year-old Richard Joseph Hopkins, died from an infection in August after four brain surgeries by Schneider in a span of four weeks.
“Schneider denied in an interview that he had provided substandard care and blamed poor patient outcomes on other providers or unfortunate complications that can occur in neurosurgery.
“Hopkins’ daughter Amy McIntire told USA TODAY this week that she is furious Schneider was hired in the first place and floored by the national policy that allowed it.
“’I’m appalled by the ineptitude at the VA,’ said McIntire, a registered nurse who noted that an agency so large has numerous staff to write policies and ensure they comply with federal law. “’For it just to be ignored, it’s crazy.’”
“Nearly 50 members of Congress have called on the VA for answers since USA TODAY’s story ran.”
This is far from the first offense caused by the incompetency of the VA.
Back in 2015, a bombshell report showed that hundreds of thousands of veterans in the VA’s backlog were no longer living.
Indeed, the Inspector General asserted that 307,000 veterans may have died waiting to be cared for.