'Veterans' identities could have been stolen': Ex-employee said VA was warned last year of medical records sitting in basement

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A former warehouse supervisor at the Atlanta VA Medical Center said hospital leaders were warned about the severity of the pallets of unopened mail last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Oct. 7.

Seven things to know:

  1. James Bell said he heard about the mail being stored in the basement and told hospital leaders about it last year.

  2. "This is serious," Mr. Bell told the publication. "Veterans' identities could have been stolen."

  3. The unopened mail could have caused physicians outside of the VA, who performed services for VA patients, to go unpaid, Mr. Bell said. The unpaid bills could have resulted in liens or legal actions being taken against VA patients, he said.

  4. When Mr. Bell warned the hospital about the severity of the situation, he never heard back, according to the Journal-Constitution.

  5. David Walker, MD, the director of Veterans Affairs medical care for nearly all of Georgia, launched an investigation into the Atlanta VA Medical Center in September.

  6. The Decatur, Ga., hospital originally said the mail was backlogged because of COVID-19 and there would be no investigation. The mail contained about $200,000 in checks and patients' medical records, according to the Journal-Constitution.

  7. Sharonda Pearson, director of communications at VA Southeast Network, told Becker's, "The VA Southeast Network is investigating the recent incident of unopened mail at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and will take appropriate action based on the findings."

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