VA illegally hired physicians with revoked licenses, malpractice claims for last 15 years – Secretary vows to ‘revise’ guidelines


Following the discovery that the VA in Iowa City, Iowa, illegally hired neurosurgeon John Schneider, MD, a USA Today investigation found the Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed is hospitals to illegally hire surgeons with revoked medical licenses since 2002.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. A federal law passed in 1999 prohibits VA hospitals from hiring any healthcare provider whose license has been revoked in any state. However, in 2002, the VA issued new guidelines giving hospitals the discretion to hire surgeons whose licenses has been revoked but still has active licensure in another state.


2. The new guidelines overstepped the federal law. Since the discovery, VA secretary David Shulkin ordered a re-writing of the guidelines and launched an investigation to identify and remove healthcare providers with revoked licenses.


3. A VA hospital in Iowa City is one such example. Dr. Schneider was hired by the Iowa City VA after stating in his application his licensed had been revoked in Wyoming and he had various malpractice claims. His license was still active in Montana allowing for his hire.


4. VA hospitals across the country are under fire for illegally hiring surgeons and healthcare providers. In Oklahoma, a VA hired a psychiatrist previously reprimanded for sexual misconduct. And the VA in Tomah, Wis., hired a psychiatrist with a background of medical violations. He went on to over-prescribe narcotics

to veterans.


5. It is unclear how many physicians have been hired illegally since the guidelines were issued. To ensure the best care is provided to veterans, the VA is also investigating providers with sanctions against their medical licenses, such as suspensions or reprimands.


6. Congress also called on the VA to review its 2002 guidelines, which stretch 1,267 pages.


7. Mr. Shulkin is working on reducing the agency’s 66,000 regulations by 80 percent. He told USA Today, “I don’t know how any organization or any human being could appropriately understand and follow 66,000 policies. If we don’t deal with these root-cause issues such as these ambiguous policies, we’re going to

see problems like this just pop up over and over again.”


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