September 10, 2019

Chairman Takano, Congressman Pappas Announce Hearing In Response to Arkansas, West Virginia VA Issues

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-California) and Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations Chair Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) announced a subcommittee hearing this fall to address credentialing, privileging, and reporting after troubling allegations of incidents at VA facilities in Arkansas and West Virginia.

“The shocking reports from West Virginia and Arkansas call into question whether VA is equipped to identify clinicians who are negligent, abusive, or commit criminal acts-- and prevent them from practicing,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “This Committee will take action, and fulfill our oversight responsibility by holding a hearing in the fall to closely examine these disturbing instances.”

Rep. Chris Pappas added, “Veterans need to trust that VA is fulfilling its responsibilities for credentialing and privileging, and that they are taking appropriate action to remove clinicians who deliver substandard care or engage in misconduct. We have a duty to ensure that veterans can access care without falling victim to ‘bad actors’ within the VA system. It is important that this subcommittee understand what actions VA is taking to intervene when concerns over clinical care arise, and guarantee these issues do not occur in the future.” 

Background: The Office of Inspector General is currently investigating three alarming incidents at VA facilities in both Arkansas and West Virginia. At the VA medical center (VAMC) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Dr. Robert Levy, a pathologist, allegedly misdiagnosed up to 3,000 veterans between 2005 and 2017. So far, VA officials have acknowledged that at least 15 veterans have died and another 15 veterans have suffered harm as a result of Dr. Levy’s botched diagnoses. He has been charged with 3 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the matter. The OIG is also investigating at least 11 deaths at the Clarksburg, West Virginia VAMC, two of which have now been ruled homicides. Additionally, a physician at the Beckley, West Virginia, VAMC allegedly sexually assaulted “more than a dozen” patients. Each of these cases point to issues within VA’s hiring, credentialing, and reporting practices for clinicians that the subcommittee looks to address.

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Press Contact

Miguel R. Salazar (Takano)

202-225-9756

Susan Curran (Pappas)

202-603-3266