VA facing criticism for number of medical malpractice claims

Given that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves the needs of millions and retired military members around the country, many may assume that the agency would uphold the highest of standards when it comes to patient care. After all, countless families in places like Hyattsville, Maryland, depend on the medical care provided by the VA. Recent findings published in more than one survey suggest, however, that VA patients may be subjected to more incidents of medical malpractice than any others across the nation.

Malpractice claims result in payouts by hospitals in approximately 20 percent of cases, according to a study conducted by Harvard University. In cases involving the VA, the number of payouts made to victims increases by five percent. When an audit was recently conducted on the VA, it was determined that victims of medical malpractice received almost $100 million in payments from the agency in 2012. And in the 10-year period leading up to that point, some $845 million was spent by the VA on malpractice claims.

The VA medical group contends that such figures are reasonable considering that millions of patients are treated every year. Critics argue, however, that the number of malpractice claims filed against the VA are on the rise and have been for some time. Some have also raised concerns over evidence that some VA personnel involved in malpractice incidents were still issued bonuses.

Specific incidents of doctor negligence and errors were cited, illustrating the nature and extent of alleged flaws in the VA medical system. Some politicians and critics are calling for a massive overhaul of the agency as a result of the audit.

Source: legalexaminer.com, “Audit Reveals VA Hospitals Spend Hundreds Of Millions Paying Medical Malpractice Claims,” Patrick Austin, Feb. 4, 2014

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