Loose Drugs and Manslaughter at the Veterans Administration
“Corpseman”: that’s how man currently known as Obama vocalized the word “corpsman” in 2010.
Of course, he’s a genius (his undisclosed transcripts show that), and so maybe he was, as usual, simply speaking more incisively and presciently than the rest of us imbeciles will ever be capable of.
After all, it looks like Obama’s Veterans Administration does, after all, have a stack of Obamacare-style, death panel dead bodies in Phoenix.
Who knows? He might even, Soylent Green style, convert the dead veteran bodies into energy like his friends in Oregon did with dead babies.
The Washington Times reported that the administration, in 2008, was apprised as a general matter of VA problems related to wait times. According to the Times, concealed wait times are what led to the resignation of Undersecretary of Health Robert A. Petzel.
Maybe so, but there is also evidence that Petzel -- since he presumably had access to VA inspector general reports -- knew about loose drugs at the VA and did nothing about it.
The Times relied on FOIA requests, but ordinary citizens can often quickly obtain Web information that is far more penetrating than that acquired by way of FOIA requests -- requests that can be time consuming and that are all too easily dodged and/or constructed in terms favorable to the agency under scrutiny.
So if Americans want to know what the next Obama scandal is going to be, just do some agency Internet research.
An April 2012 Veterans Administration Inspector General report found, among other things with respect to the Phoenix VA health care system, that medications were not properly stored and that sensitive patient information was not adequately protected. Medications were placed in an unsecured refrigerator and computers displaying sensitive patient information were found unattended.
The improper storage of drugs is particularly disturbing given news on May 20 out of Miami that VA police whistleblower Thomas Fiore, when asked why he decided to speak publicly, stated:
“People are dying,” he finally said, “and there are so many things that are going on there that people need to know about.”
Fiore, a criminal investigator for the VA police department in South Florida, contacted CBS4 News hoping to shed light on what he considers a culture of cover-ups and bureaucratic neglect. Among his charges: Drug dealing on the hospital grounds is a daily occurrence.
“Anything from your standard prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and of course marijuana, cocaine, heroin, I’ve come across them all,” he explained.
Even inside the hospital, he says he was stopped from doing his job – investigating reports of missing drugs from the VA pharmacy. When the amount of a particular drug inside the pharmacy doesn’t match the amount that the pharmacy is supposed to have, a report, known as a “discrepancy report” is generated. Normally it was his job to investigate the reports to determine if they were the result of harmless mistakes or criminal activity. But all that changed, he said, about two years ago.
“I was instructed that I was to stop conducting investigations pertaining to controlled substance discrepancies,” he recalled.
He said he was personally told to stop investigating them by the hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. Vincent DeGennaro.
“I have no idea why,” he said. “He’s the chief of staff he doesn’t have to tell me why.”
So let’s continue probing the “unsecured medication” problem at the VA.
More re: Fiore:
Fiore said he decided to contact CBS4 News following our report last month on the death of Nicholas Cutter, a 27-year-old Iraq War veteran with PTSD who died from a cocaine overdose inside the Miami VA’s drug rehab center.
Are drug related VA improprieties confined to Phoenix and Miami?
Probably not, according to the VA’s inspector general.
In an October, 2008 review entitled Audit of the Veterans Health Administration’s Domiciliary Safety, Security, and Privacy, the DVAOIG states:
Unsecured medications were found in veterans’ domiciliary rooms during room inspections we conducted at all five domiciliaries. There are no national procedures for room inspections at domiciliaries. In addition, we found that a physical security survey for controlled substances was not conducted at one of the nation’s largest domiciliaries. National procedures for periodic unannounced inspections and random searches of all storage areas in veterans’ rooms are needed. We identified unsecured medications at all five facilities. We accompanied VHA staff on random inspections of veterans’ rooms and identified 17 instances of unsecured medications during 60 room observations at five facilities that should have been secured in the veterans’ personal locked storage areas.
“Unsecured medications in all five facilties” reviewed, huh?
So, in between golf rounds, President Obama signs a piece of paper that tells millions of people throughout the country what health care they will get, where they will get it, when they will get it, from whom they will get it, and how much they will pay for it and yet he hasn’t found the time to secure the VA’s drugs nationally.
Moving along, in a vein similar to that above, an unexpected PTSD death in a New Jersey VA program led to the following DVAOIG statement:
3. Storage and Security
We found that the facility did not obtain the subject resident’s written agreement of compliance with all MH RRTP medication security requirements as required by VHA and facility policy. We evaluated 48 resident admissions during a 3-month period, during which the patient’s admission occurred. We found only three signed written compliance and none of the three forms were completed with all necessary information, such as SMM level.
How did the PTSD veteran die (click immediately preceding link)?
The Office of the State of New Jersey Medical Examiner autopsy report listed “Acute
intoxication due to the combined effect s of cyclobenzaprine, tramadol, gabapentin, sertraline, hydroxyzine, and amlodipine” as the cause of death.
“Stray” medications would again appear to be the cause.
How many other VA institutions that exhibit “stray medication” problems are there?
In 2011, it was revealed that a seven month undercover operation led to a Palm Beach County Oxydodone /marijuana drug trafficking bust of 24 VA employees, veterans, and others.
A Riviera Beach VA controlled substances technician (Terri Guerra) was included amongst those charged; she was stashing drugs (Oxycodone) at home.
Here are two more:
We substantiated the allegation that the medication carts do not
always lock properly.
A March 15 2012 inspection revealed another failure of VA medication security.
Loose drugs, manslaughter, and narcotrafficking at the VA: perhaps Obama has been too busy golfing, partying, fundraising, and having Marines hold umbrellas over his head to notice?
Of course, Obama heard about it all in the news, so it would appear that his closest advisors are like the corpsemen at ObamaCare’s SERCO corp. -- paid more than a billon under ObamaCare to do nothing, see nothing, and say nothing.
Dr. Jason Kissner is associate professor of criminology at California State University, Fresno. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.