Health Care Fraud

27. January, 2015|president's briefing|No comments

(January 27, 2014)

In order to further improve the lines of communication and to respond to the concerns between the National VA Council and you our members, I have established a National VA Council Briefing. This NVAC Briefing will bring you the latest news and developments within DVA and provide you with the current status of issues this Council is currently addressing. I believe that this NVAC Briefing will greatly enhance the way in which we communicate and the way in which we share new information, keeping you better informed.

 

Alma L. Lee

National VA Council, President

 

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In This Briefing:  Former Defense Department Employee Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for $2.5 Million Health Care Fraud -Veteran Admits Submitting Fraudulent Claims for Medical Expenses-   

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Subject Made Fraudulent Claims Against VA Foreign Medical Program, Sentencing Affirms OIG’s Commitment To Bring to Justice Those Who Steal From Programs for Nation’s Deserving Veterans

OSC finds relief for 4 more VA whistleblowers

22. January, 2015|president's briefing|No comments

January 22, 2015)

 

In order to further improve the lines of communication and to respond to the concerns between the National VA Council and you our members, I have established a National VA Council Briefing. This NVAC Briefing will bring you the latest news and developments within DVA and provide you with the current status of issues this Council is currently addressing. I believe that this NVAC Briefing will greatly enhance the way in which we communicate and the way in which we share new information, keeping you better informed.

Alma L. Lee

National VA Council, President

 

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In This Briefing:  OSC finds relief for 4 more VA whistleblowers

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FierceGovernment

OSC finds relief for 4 more VA whistleblowers

January 22, 2015 | By Ryan McDermott

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The Office of Special Counsel says it has secured corrective actions for four whistleblowers who were retaliated against when they revealed information about recent Veterans Affairs Administration problems, the OSC says in a Jan. 20 statement.

Mark Tello, a VA nursing assistant, Richard Hill, a VA physician, Rachael Hogan, a VA registered nurse and Coleen Elmers, a VA nurse manager all received relief from the OSC ruling (pdf).

That makes 25 whistleblowers the OSC has obtained relief for related to VA disclosures since April, the statement says.

“OSC will continue to work with the VA to obtain relief for VA whistleblowers with meritorious reprisal claims,” says
Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner in the statement. “We appreciate the VA leadership’s cooperation with OSC in assisting many VA whistleblowers.”

Tello told a supervisor in August 2013 that his VA medical center in Saginaw, Mich. was understaffed hospital and could result in serious patient care lapses. Because of that, the medical center proposed his removal, but reduced that to a five-day suspension. The VA again proposed his removal in June 2014.

OSC facilitated a settlement where the VA agreed, among other things, to place Tello in a new position at the VA under different management, to rescind his suspension, and to award him appropriate back pay.

Hill was a primary care physician at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md. In March 2014, Hill made disclosures to VA officials and the VA Office of Inspector General regarding an improper diversion of funds that resulted in harm to patients. In early May 2014, the VA issued Hill a reprimand.

As part of the settlement agreement between Hill and the VA, the VA has agreed to, among other provisions, expunge Hill’s record.

Hogan is a registered nurse with the VAMC in Syracuse, NY. She disclosed to a superior a patient’s rape accusation against a VA employee and, when the superior delayed reporting the accusations to the police, told another supervisor.

In April 2014, VAMC sought to terminate her because of a “lack of collegiality.” The VA agreed to stay the review board for the duration of the investigation and place Hogan in a new position at the Syracuse VAMC under different supervision and a revise her performance rating.

Elmers is a nurse manager at the VAMC in Spokane, Wash. In July 2014, she filed a complaint with the VA Office of Inspector General about an altered performance evaluation of one of her subordinates. In October 2014, a supervisor rated Elmers’ performance as unsatisfactory, charging her with “a lack of candor and failure to follow instructions.” In December, the Merit Systems Protection Board granted OSC’s request to stay the termination while OSC investigates.

FEHBP Reform, Pay Freezes and Lawmakers’ Other Day 1 Priorities in the 114th Congress

8. January, 2015|president's briefing|No comments

(January 8, 2015)

In order to further improve the lines of communication and to respond to the concerns between the National VA Council and you our members, I have established a National VA Council Briefing. This NVAC Briefing will bring you the latest news and developments within DVA and provide you with the current status of issues this Council is currently addressing. I believe that this NVAC Briefing will greatly enhance the way in which we communicate and the way in which we share new information, keeping you better informed.

 

Alma L. Lee

National VA Council, President

 

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In This Briefing: FEHBP Reform, Pay Freezes and Lawmakers’ Other Day 1 Priorities in the 114th Congress

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FEHBP Reform, Pay Freezes and Lawmakers’ Other Day 1 Priorities in the 114th Congress

Members of the 114th Congress wasted no time introducing bills that would impact federal employees, using their first day to put forward measures affecting pay, benefits and agency operations.

The new, Republican-controlled Congress has promised to rein in the federal bureaucracy and it is already demonstrating a willingness to do just that. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., presented three different bills Tuesday to slash agency spending across the board by 1 percent, 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively. The cuts would only exempt the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments.

“Our nation is currently more than $18 trillion in debt,” Blackburn said. “The time is now for Washington to start living within its means. It is not fair to hard working taxpayers and future generations that Washington continues to spend money we don’t have for programs we don’t want or need.”

On the benefits side, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it by giving all Americans access to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Issa would task the Office of Personnel Management, which currently oversees FEHBP, with carrying out the health care overhaul. Issa, who introduced the same measure in the last Congress, said the proposal would improve access and choice to health insurance for all Americans, provide more affordable options and make prices easier to compare.

“Affordable, high quality, private plans can be offered to Americans without mandates, new taxes, bureaucratic hurdles, or adding to our deficit,” Issa said.

On a related note, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced a bill that would end government-sponsored health care for members of Congress and their staffers, the president, the vice president and all political appointees. The Affordable Care Act required lawmakers and congressional aides to drop their FEHBP insurance coverage as of Oct. 1, 2013, and enter the newly created exchange market. OPM, however, issued a rule stating Capitol Hill staff would not lose their employer (government) contributions for their chosen health plans.

While a federal judge in July dismissed a lawsuit challenging OPM’s decision, Vitter’s bill would codify the effort to end the health care benefit for lawmakers and their aides, and expand it to appointees, the president and vice president.

Vitter also put forward a bill to end automatic pay raises for members of Congress. Lawmakers have blocked their own raises for each of thelast six years. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., went a step farther, proposing to cut lawmakers’ pay 5 percent while also ending future cost-of-living adjustments.

Both Yoder and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., introduced bills to end lawmakers’ eligibility to receive a pension through the Federal Employees Retirement System, instead only allowing Thrift Savings Plan participation. Vitter, along with Fitzpatrick, unveiled a measure to create term limits for members of Congress.