GAO: VA failed to report potentially dangerous providers


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to report the majority of its providers after concerns were raised regarding their ability to provide clinical care, according to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The report, entitled "VA Health Care: Improved Policies and Oversight Needed for Reviewing and Reporting Providers for Quality and Safety Concerns," sought to investigate safety concerns at select VA facilities to ensure patients were receiving adequate care.

The GAO studied five VA hospitals, which were collectively required to review 148 providers between October 2013 and March 2017 after receiving complaints about their clinical care.

The report concluded the five hospitals were collectively unable to provide documentation for more than half of the 148 providers, and that respective hospitals did not begin the review process for at least 16 providers in a timely manner.

The GAO also found the five VA hospitals did not report eight of the nine physicians who had adverse privileging actions against them or who resigned during an investigation into their professional conduct to the National Practitioner Data Bank, an electronic database comprising information about the professional conduct and competence of providers. None of the nine providers were reported to state licensing boards, the report found.

If the findings hold true across the agency's estimated 150 hospitals, hundreds of providers may have gone unreported to either the NPDB or to individual state licensing boards, according to USA Today.

"As a result, [the] VHA's ability to provide safe, high quality care to veterans is hindered because other VAMCs, as well as non-VA health care entities, will be unaware of serious concerns raised about a provider's care," the GAO report concluded.

To access the full report, click here.

More articles on hospital-physician relationships:
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