VA needs to fire dangerous doctors and improve hiring practices, oversight
© Getty Images

Would you trust a doctor who had their license revoked, had a history of sexual misconduct, and had on numerous occasions engaged in unethical, unprofessional behavior? Obviously not. Why, then, would we ever put someone like that in a position to care for the men and women who served our country?

In December, we were shocked to learn that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had hired medical providers who have been accused of all of the above offenses. These reports clearly indicate that the VA’s hiring of many of these providers was not only appalling, but also violated federal law.

ADVERTISEMENT

That is why we led a bipartisan letter of 30 members to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ask how these hires were cleared and what actions have been taken to prevent this from happening again.

In response to that letter, then-Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinSchumer demands answers in use of unproven coronavirus drug on veterans Former Trump VA secretary says staffer found plans to replace him in department copier VA under pressure to ease medical marijuana rules MORE said that the VA was conducting a review of all 165,000 active licensed providers at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), starting with a more thorough review of a subset of 77,000. Both reviews were expected to be completed by March 2018, but now we are learning that they have been pushed back even further to June. To date, nine providers have been fired. No disciplinary actions have been taken against the professional standards boards that cleared these hires. This is simply not good enough.

Every day that the VA continues this review is another day we risk the health of the heroes who have served our country. The VA needs to prevent this from happening in the first place, not just carry out a five-month long review.

Congress and the VA need to concentrate on making the department an environment that will attract the best workers so veterans get the best care possible. We see the great work many are doing in VA facilities across the country, and we owe it to those employees and our veterans to strengthen the hiring and retention processes. This includes scholarships, loan repayment, and other factors providers consider when making the decision of where to work.

We, as representatives, need to hold VA leadership accountable for their actions. These problems should never have arisen in the first place, and we will continue to shine a light on these issues until the VA learns to step up and fix their own immense problems. We will continue to work with with our colleagues in the Congress to ensure our brave veterans are receiving the timely access to quality care from qualified providers that they deserve, and it is our sincere hope that the VA will do the same.

Also written by Reps. Michael Bost (R-Ill.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesExperts warn Georgia's new electronic voting machines vulnerable to potential intrusions, malfunctions Georgia restores 22,000 voter registrations after purge Stacey Abrams group files emergency motion to stop Georgia voting roll purge MORE (R-N.C.), Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversNational Retail Federation hosts virtual 'store tours' for lawmakers amid coronavirus Stronger patent rights would help promote US technological leadership Republicans to introduce House version of Scott police reform bill MORE (R-Ohio), Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoDemocrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle House Republicans urge White House to support TSA giving travelers temperature checks GOP lawmaker cites 'herd immunity' when asked why he's without face mask MORE (R-Fla.), Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallClub for Growth unleashes financial juggernaut for 2020 races Deadline for Kansas Senate race passes without Pompeo filing The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (R-Kan.), Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE (R-Va.), Steve PearceStevan (Steve) Edward PearceFive Latinas who could be Biden's running mate New Mexico Dems brace for crowded race to succeed Udall The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (R-N.M.), Doug LaMalfaDouglas (Doug) LaMalfaGOP lawmakers plan measure to force Americans to divest from firms linked to Chinese military: report House lawmakers advocate to preserve medical funding for underserved, rural areas Overnight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking MORE (R-Calif.), Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Health Care: Trump downplaying of COVID-19 sparks new criticism of response Trump downplaying sparks new criticism of COVID-19 response The Hill's Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Reid Wilson says political winners are governors who listened to scientists and public health experts; 12 states record new highs for seven-day case averages MORE (R-N.C.), and Mimi Walters (R-Calif.)