gettyimages 131277275 VA hospital intentionally skewed patient data

DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 03: Homeless U.S. military veterans stand in line for free services at a “Stand Down” event hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs on November 3, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. A week ahead of Veterans Day, more than 500 homeless veterans were expected to attend the event, where they received free medical care, winter clothing, employment assistance and were able to see a judge to resolve legal issues. Organizers say the homeless veterans population has surged in recent years with the high national unemployment rate. Stand Down is a military term that means a temporary stop of offensive military action. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Officials say a West Virginia Veterans Affairs medical center intentionally skewed patient data to reduce both the reported wait times and the volume of patients.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in a news release last week that a whistleblower prompted the investigation of the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. Officials say that over the last seven years, a manager at the facility urged nursing staff to place emergency patients into two unofficial clinics rather than record the encounter. The decision, among other things, caused an inaccurate analysis of staff workload.

Officials say the VA also improperly coded patient encounters for medical purposes and charged 602 veterans an incorrect copayment.

The medical center’s spokesman, Wesley Walls, says the skewing only affected the Clarksburg facility.


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