The Strom Law Firm is now investigating and evaluating cases against The Dorn Veterans Administration Medical Center for its failure to diagnose cancer. The VA Inspector General released a report Friday, September 6, 2013, that found almost 4,000 patients were waiting for examination at one point in 2011. These delays in treatment and diagnosis were found to be “associated” with cancers in 52 of the patients with at least nine of these patients or their families filing lawsuits about delays.
The Veterans Administration Inspector Generals report found the following:
- Poor management of the gastroenterology program including delays in hiring staffers, failure to use tracking systems and spending about $200,000 of $1 million designated to help reduce the backlog in examinations;
- During the backlog of examinations, at least 280 patients were diagnosed with malignancies, including 52 cases in which the delay in diagnosis and treatment was “associated” with cancers, according to the report
- During the backlog period, waits of four to five months were common where VA Regulation allows 60 days for a colonoscopy to be performed after a consultation is requested
- One staff member said no progress was made until a patient died after a delayed consultation. At this point, nine patients or their families had filed lawsuits about the delays.
What You Need to Know About Delays at the VA
More than 20 clinical providers and administrative staff were interviewed for the VA Inspector General’s report. The factors that emerged span several years and are rather complex:
- Staffing Issues: The number of employees in the gastroenterology department remained well below its authorized staffing levels from 2011 into 2013. Further, the gastroenterology nurse manager retired in July 2009 but no successor was hired until February 2012.
- Management and Planning: Administrative personnel outnumbered clinical personnel by a four-to-one margin until September 2012 when the hospital’s planning council made an active effort to reduce the backlog.
- Funding: The Southeastern region of the VA send $1 Million to Dorn in September 2011 specifically to address the backlog. The Dorn business office said it was unaware the money had been earmarked for the backlog and nearly $800,000 was spent elsewhere. This money was to be spent to pay non-VA physicians to examine patients, however a former Dorn chief if staff told the business office not to send any more VA gastroenterology cases to outside physicians.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with VA Cases, Including Those Against the VA for Gastroenterology Delays
The Veterans Benefit Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. work with veterans to file claims for a variety of disabilities and can assist you in filing your claims. Veterans Disability can be complex. Not understanding the basics and not having counsel may leave you in a bind. We understand that you and your family need your benefits. We will put our years of experience to work for you to ensure that you have the representation necessary to actively pursue your claim. Call the Veterans Benefits Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm today to discuss your case. We will be glad to discuss any questions you may have during our free, confidential discussion. Call the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm at (803) 252-4800.
J.P. Strom, Jr., Attorney at Law
The Strom Law Firm
2110 Beltline Blvd.