Sen. Ted Cruz: 'This “is completely unacceptable.”...
The letter went out to 4,594 veteran patients who "possibly could have been infected and urged them to be tested for two types of hepatitis and HIV."...
“It’s common sense,” VA Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd said. “Allowing health care workers to do taxpayer-funded union work instead of serving Veterans impacts patient care negatively. President Trump has made it clear – VA employees should always put Veterans first. And when we hire medical professionals to take care of Veterans, that’s what they should do at all times. No excuses, no exceptions.”
The VA issued national guidelines in 2002 giving local hospitals discretion to hire clinicians after “prior consideration of all relevant facts surrounding” any revocations and as long as they still had a license in one state. But a federal law passed in 1999 bars the VA from employing any health care worker whose license has been yanked by any state.
Applications are vetted, education and licenses verified, references checked, and interviews conducted. For clinical hires, a review and approval by a professional standards board also is required. But when applicants disclose prior problems with medical licensing short of revocation, malpractice or criminal histories, VA hospital officials have discretion to weigh the providers’ explanations and approve their hiring anyway.
The bill would lower the burden of proof needed to fire employees -- from a "preponderance" to "substantial evidence," allowing a dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker's favor.
The VA inspector general found that in recent weeks the operating room at the hospital ran out of vascular patches to seal blood vessels and ultrasound probes used to map blood flow.
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