Patients dying needlessly at troubled VA facility

At least nine patients died and dozens more got sicker than they should be because of inadequate care delivered by the troubled Marion, IL VA Medical Center, according to internal reports released by the VA. Not only are nine deaths clearly linked to sub-standard care, an additional 10 other deaths may be related to care problems, though the VA researchers couldn't find a definitive link, the report said. Among other problems, the VA's Inspector General and medical inspector found instances where surgeons at Marion performed complex procedures for which they were not authorized. The review also found that a flawed physician credentialing process made things worse.

Unfortunately, the credentialing problem is not unique to this facility. Last year, VA officials admitted that about 17,000 of its 56,000 practicing physicians in its system triggered "red flags" in its electronic credentialing system. This week, federal lawmakers plan to hold hearings on the VA's credentialing and privileging system.

To learn more about this problem:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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