VHA hired practitioners with adverse actions in NPDB

Residency Program Insider, March 8, 2019

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A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hired physicians and other healthcare providers that had adverse actions taken against them. GAO analyzed physicians, nurses, and dentists working at VHA as of September 2016 who had an NPDB record. It found that VHA facilities responded in various ways to adverse-action information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for the 57 providers reviewed, and in some cases overlooked or were not aware of adverse action.

For example, one VHA facility hired a physician who had surrendered his physical-therapy license for not completing physical-therapy continuing education. His license surrender was reported to the NPDB. Yet, the VHA determined that there were no concerns about the provider’s ability to perform as a physician and hired him.

VHA facilities also did not consistently adhere to their own policies, according to the GAO. It found that officials in at least five facilities who were involved in verifying providers’ credentials and hiring them were unaware of a policy regarding hiring a provider whose license has been revoked or surrendered for professional misconduct or incompetence, or for providing substandard care. As a result, these five VHA facilities hired or retained some providers who were ineligible.

VHA officials have said they are taking steps to ensure that providers meet licensure requirements. For example, VHA completed a onetime review of all licensed providers beginning in December 2017 and removed 11 providers who did not meet the licensure requirements as a result of this review. However, VHA officials also said these types of reviews are not routinely conducted, and that the review was labor intensive.

Source: United States Government Accountability Office

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