Allen B. West

VA employees actually destroy veterans’ records to ease backlog

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There can be no debate that the Obama administration has a disdain for our military and its veterans. Now it seems we’ll no longer see Obama attend VFW and American Legion conferences — not that anyone will miss him.

Remember the empty promises about easing the veterans’ claims backlog? As a matter of fact, when was the last time you saw the FLOTUS and Dr. Jill Biden on a military base talking about supporting military families? Yep, the true colors of Barack Hussein Obama are as brilliant as ever.

But I’m not sure anything can be more disgusting and heinous than what the Daily Caller reported: Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee said. Audio of an internal VA meeting obtained by The Daily Caller confirms that VA officials in Los Angeles intentionally canceled backlogged patient exam requests.”

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Apparently this brilliant method of reducing the backlog was conceived in November 2008 and put into full implementation in March 2009 under the purview of the Obama administration.

As the Daily Caller reports: “We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistantsaid. ”It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospitals efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.” By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.

So, rather than figure out a way to handle the requests, presto change-o! The VA Greater Los Angeles Officials simply decided to cancel them. You can hear the evidence.

VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said. Dr. El-Saden, according to Mitchell, was “the person who said destroy the records.”

Mitchell tried to blow the whistle on the scheme to destroy veterans’ records and ended up being transferred out of his department and eventually losing his job. “I filed the initial complaint with the IG. The IG instead of doing their own investigation just gave it to the facility and made them aware of my complaint.” Mitchell eventually wrote to Congress about the issue in January 2011. Two months later, in March 2011, he was fired.

In April 2013 Mitchell received a letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel stating that OIG (Office of the Inspector General) found in November 2009 that “all imaging services across the country were instructed to mass purge all outstanding imaging orders for studies older than six months, where the procedure was no longer needed”. However, Mitchell contends that in Los Angeles, exam requests that were found to still be needed were “definitely” destroyed.

I believe this matter must be immediately investigated by the House Veterans Affairs Committee headed up by Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla). If a thorough hearing and investigation verifies this incident, the punishment should be heavy. It must send a message throughout the Veterans Administration that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. As well, there should be some sort of follow up investigation to ascertain if this is an isolated practice or promulgated elsewhere in the VA Hospital system.

Regardless, the fact that we are even discussing this issue is beyond believable. Veterans, if you have had any issue with your valid exam requests being delayed beyond a six-month point please let us know and contact the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee immediately. We owe our veterans a debt that cannot ever be fully repaid — but for goodness’ sake, we should at least try.

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