34 current and former employees of the Cincinnati VA hospital have become whistleblowers in a new report from the Scripps’ Washington bureau and ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO.
According to the report, the hospital has made severe cuts to surgeries and specialist care in the hospital which cares for 40,000 area vets.
What’s most concerning are the specific allegations. One such allegation is that surgical instruments arrive in the operating room un-sanitized and still covered in blood and bone from past surgeries.
However, it’s not just the medical services that are messed up. The report also found that one of the hospital’s top officials were accepting two salaries at once and was prescribing controlled pain medication to the spouse of a regional director without a license!
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and the House of Representatives’ Veterans Affairs committee have ordered an independent watchdog group to look into all the allegations. Also, control of the hospital has been temporarily realigned to a regional office in Pittsburg as the investigation continues.
Here’s a video report. (May not work on all devices)
Here are some of the Scripps-WCPO investigation findings:
- Services to veterans have been reduced, including spine and orthopedic surgeries, along with customized prosthetic services for artificial limbs.
- Dr. Temeck prescribed controlled substances, including hydrocodone and a generic form of Valium, to Mrs. Hetrick, the wife of her regional boss, Jack Hetrick. State and federal authorities confirm Dr. Temeck does not have a valid controlled substances license that would allow her to write prescriptions privately for Mrs. Hetrick.
- Dr. Temeck cut around-the-clock staffing by emergency airway specialists to save money, resulting in at least one close call involving a patient who could not breathe.
- Dr. Temeck told operating-room staff they were being “too picky” when they reported surgical instruments delivered to operating rooms with blood and bone chips from previous surgeries.
- Dr. Temeck is paid separately as a VA administrator and cardiothoracic surgeon. But whistleblowers say she has never served as the operating surgeon since coming to Cincinnati.
What will it take to fix the VA once and for all? Share your ideas in the comments below!