Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Accused of medical malpractice—a lot? The VA may want you

The Department of Veterans Affairs has knowingly hired doctors with trails of misconduct allegations, licensing problems, malpractice accusations, and patient settlements, according to a recent USA Today investigation. In fact, the newspaper suggests that the VA may actually attract troubled doctors and clinicians because it doesn't require that they have their own malpractice insurance. Thus, doctors dubbed too risky for private malpractice insurance based on problematic pasts may find relief at the VA, where malpractice claims are paid out using taxpayer money.


In their investigation, USA Today dug up 15 prior malpractice complaints and settlements against neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, who was hired in April by the Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, with an annual salary of $385,000.

The malpractice cases stretch back to 1997, just months after Dr. Schneider received his medical license in Montana. Lawsuits and complaints allege that Schneider's surgeries left one patient paralyzed, another with severe brain damage, and several with botched spine operations and severe pain. One patient lost bladder and bowel control after Schneider performed three spine surgeries.

In 2014, the Wyoming Board of Medicine revoked Schneider's license following a wrongful death suit filed by the family of one of his former patients. In that case from 2011, Russell Monaco, a father of two, had surgery to reduce pressure on nerves in his lower back. Afterward, he was discharged -- despite dangerously low blood-oxygen levels -- and prescribed a lethal mix of narcotics, including fentanyl, oxycodone, valium, and Demerol. He took the medications as prescribed and died at home the next day, devastating and traumatizing his family, the lawsuit alleges.


But Pinch a Loaf has told me that the VA is the best medical care system in the world.

#1 | Posted by boaz at 2017-12-06 12:52 PM


While improved drastically since the days of black-mold-covered ceilings, the VA still has a long, long way to go to meet its goal of providing proper care for our Veterans.

#2 | Posted by LampLighter at 2017-12-06 01:41 PM

@ Boaz
@ LampLighter

Simple question -

Why didn't the private sector stop this cowboy neurosurgeon BEFORE he was ever available to be hired by the VA?

The answer is what I've been trying to explain for years ...

Private healthcare keep their mistakes and problems private, while the VA is public and has it's problems aired publicly, combined with private healthcare lacking any real oversight (like this loose cannon neurosurgeon) while the VA has ACTUAL oversight from Congress along with the VA OIG.

Doctors come and go, back and forth, both to the VA and back to the private sector. The bottom line is always this, per Bernie Sanders [paraphrasing] ... "fix US Healthcare, and you'll fix the VA." Do that, and this neurosurgeon would've been long gone before he applied to the VA.

Lastly, here's yet a another RAND Study published last year showing that the VA still performs better than the private sector ...

Quality of Care in VA Health System Compares Well to Other Health Settings

The Veterans Affairs health care system generally performs better than or similar to other health care systems on providing safe and effective care to patients, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Analyzing a decade of research that examined the VA health care system across a variety of quality dimensions, researchers found that the VA generally delivered care that was better or equal in quality to other health care systems, although there were some exceptions.

The RAND study updates and expands a similar one conducted in 2009 and was a part of a large examination of the VA health care system conducted at the request of the U.S. Congress. The VA is the nation's largest integrated health care system.

RAND researchers searched the medical literature to identify research published between January 2005 and January 2015 about the quality of care at VA health facilities compared to non-VA health facilities. A total of 69 articles across dimensions including safety and effectiveness were found.

Twenty-two of the 34 studies on safety and 20 of the 24 studies focusing on effectiveness showed that the same, if not better, quality of care is provided in VA facilities.

Remember, healthcare quality experts have been saying for 20 years now that hundreds of thousands of Americans die EVERY YEAR from preventable medical errors. With that as the context, the always publicly maligned VA looks very good -- anther reason the headline from the science/tech blog is BS.

#3 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-12-06 07:48 PM

I just typed up a long reply to #3, but the comment disappeared when I tried to preview it.


Oh well...

#4 | Posted by LampLighter at 2017-12-06 08:55 PM

WSJ: Koch Groups to Mount Hard Press to Expand Private-Sector VA Services

Conservative network plans to spend millions, mobilize affiliates on a long-debated issue
By Ben Kesling

Updated Nov. 3, 2017 8:58 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON -- A conservative goal of opening more of the Department of Veterans Affairs' medical services to the private sector is due to get a push from the well-funded Koch brothers' network.

Brothers Charles and David Koch, whose network is planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to advance its conservative agenda across the government and protect vulnerable congressional Republicans, will mobilize several affiliates and subgroups to battle for its vision of the future of the VA, Koch representatives said this week.

In America's ~ $3 Trillion shoddy healthcare system, fully one-third of that annual expenditure is waste with no benefit to patients. That's trillions of dollars wasted since this was first understood over a decade ago.

For 20 years healthcare quality experts have been explaining that hundreds of thousands of Americans die EVERY YEAR from preventable medical errors.

No one is saying that VA healthcare is perfect because it's not. That said, these same healthcare quality experts point out that the VA does a good job overall.

All of that said, the WSJ link says it all.

#5 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-12-07 07:06 AM

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