Senator Ernst Urges VA to Take Action to Address Hiring Issues

This builds on Ernst’s bill that ensures proper care for veterans, tackles the issue of the VA hiring providers with a history of misconduct

RED OAK, Iowa – U.S Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran, has joined a bipartisan group of senators in calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to take action following a troubling report from the Government Accountability Office that found Veterans Health Administration facilities are hiring providers with a history of misconduct. Ernst and her colleagues are requesting detailed information from the VA about the steps it will take to address the problem.

“Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities lack adequate safeguards to ensure that veterans are not treated by providers who have a history of adverse actions against them related to providing substandard patient care, endangering public safety, substance misuse, or unprofessional conduct,” The Senators wrote. “We urge you to take immediate action to correct this issue and to ensure quality care for veterans who have sacrificed much in the brave defense of our freedoms.”

The Senators point to a disturbing and inconsistent adherence to policies related to verifying a potential provider’s credentials. This is due in part to a lack of uniform and mandatory credential training across facilities.  

The Senators continued, “In fact, the report details that staff responsible for the implementation of these credentialing standards were unaware of the standards in at least five facilities. Without uniform policies, appropriate training, and consistent implementation, VHA continues to hire providers that lack proper credentials to the detriment of veterans."

?Read the full letter here.

Background:

Earlier this year, Senator Ernst introduced the Ensure Quality Care for Our Veterans Actwhich requires that every health care provider hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with a revoked license undergoes a third party review of that provider’s care. If the review determines that a competent practitioner would have managed the veteran’s care differently, the veteran will be notified. Ernst spoke before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee urging support for this legislation.

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