Tuesday, May 30, 2017

VA Drug Thefts Continue.

Tom's Journal. http://tomschuckmanjournal.blogspot.com/ tschuckman@aol.com

I am so happy to introduce my new novel, YOU DEAR, SWEET MAN, that will soon be on Amazon for sale. Here's the hook: "What if the person of your fantasy and dreams beckoned you to melt into their world for just a day? Would you have the guts to leave your world to be with this person? This a story of a man whose life is ho hum and boring, and Bobby Fastow takes his chances and does it. What leads up to his decision is a fast and easy read with an unexpected ending." I will keep you all posted as to when the novel is on Amazon. I hope you guys love it. I will soon have copies as well. Enjoy! Please tell your friends.

Thomas Neviaser

Links for my Books: 
The Way I See It: A Head-to-Toe Guide to Common Orthopaedic Conditions 
The Comb in the Urinal: And other Perplexities of Life
Man’s Unofficial Guide to the Use of His garage:
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I smell a civil war brewing

On Tuesday, May 30, 2017 10:32 AM,

Hello  Friends,
    OF COURSE the VA Drug Thefts Continue ! !   Why would we even think for a heart beat that anything the Gov't does would turn out well ???    If I were a 'betting man'  I would be rich by now -- knowing where to place my bets.... LOL !   ALL any civilian with an I.Q. above 70 needs to do is just tour any VAMC ---Veteran's Administration Medical Center,  facility.... and the TSA, too, for that reason, to SEE what kind of people actually work there !   Further more,  just look at the Stats from any Prison/ Demographics to see "what kind of people" commit the crimes.   Ha!   And I already KNOW what is turning around in most Liberal,  Dim's minds right now, and they would be saying that the Legal Arm is "profiling" --- and they would be correct.    Call it what ever you like,  but it's a Societal Break down, and it will only get WORSE.  

But the larger point that I need/ want to make here today is that, so many honest, hurt, suffering Disabled Veterans will NOW be suffering BIG TIME,  because the VA WILL ALWAYS throw "the baby out with the bath water !!"  
    That certainly bares repeating, and I personally know this for a fact, and will be writing and complaining to much higher sources really fast !    Yes,  you can COUNT on the VA messing things up, royally, and then try like hell to sweep it all under the rug, as they always do !  
     If anything, any poking around or cutting back should be done on a 'case by case basis.'    But the VA will use the 'blanket technique,' method, instead, and HURT MANY VETERANS.    Did you really expect different ?   

Yes, for sure,  I intend to send out several letters and emails to the top, and soon.   And if I should mysteriously die in the meantime,  I hope that you all can figure that out, too.   I think that I will contact my local attorney, too, in the morning.

Thomas G Schuckman
Email:   tschuckman@aol.com 

VA Drug Thefts Continue Despite New Efforts

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks on April 27 in Washington. His department is taking a more active role in combating drug thefts at VA hospitals. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks on April 27 in Washington. His department is taking a more active role in combating drug thefts at VA hospitals. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Federal authorities have launched dozens of new criminal investigations into possible opioid and other drug thefts by employees at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, a sign the problem isn't going away despite new prevention efforts.
Data obtained by The Associated Press show 36 cases opened by the VA inspector general's office from Oct. 1 through May 19. It brings the total number of open criminal investigations to 108 involving missing prescriptions, theft or unauthorized drug use. Most of those probes typically lead to criminal charges.
The numbers are an increase from a similar period in the previous year. The VA has pledged "zero tolerance" in drug thefts following an AP story in February about a sharp rise in reported cases of stolen or missing drugs since 2009. Doctors, nurses or pharmacy staff in the VA's network of more than 160 medical centers and 1,000 clinics are suspected of siphoning away controlled substances for their own use or street sale -- sometimes to the harm of patients -- or drugs simply went missing without explanation.
Drug thefts are a growing problem at private hospitals as well as the government-run VA facilities as the illegal use of opioids has increased in the United States. But separate data from the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act show the rate of reported missing drugs at VA health facilities was more than double that of the private sector. DEA investigators cited in part a larger quantity of drugs kept in stock at the larger VA medical centers to treat a higher volume of patients, both outpatient and inpatient, as well as for distribution of prescriptions by mail.
In February, the VA announced efforts to combat drug thefts, including employee drug tests and added inspections. Top VA officials in Washington led by VA Secretary David Shulkin pledged a more active role, holding conference calls with health facilities to develop plans and reviewing data to flag problems. The department also said it would consider more internal audits.
Criminal investigators said it was hard to say whether new safeguards are helping.
"Prescription drug diversion is a multifaceted, egregious health care issue," said Jeffrey Hughes, the acting VA assistant inspector general for investigations. "Veterans may be denied necessary medications or their proper dosage and medical records may contain false information to hide the diversion, further putting veterans' health at risk."
In response, the VA said it was working to develop additional policies "to improve drug safety and reduce drug theft and diversion across the entire health care system."
"We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug theft," Poonam Alaigh, VA's acting undersecretary for health, told the AP. "We have security protocols in place and will continue to work hard to improve it."
AP's story in February included figures documenting the sharp rise in drug thefts at federal hospitals, most of them VA facilities. Subsequently released DEA data provide more specific details of the problem at the VA. Drug losses or theft increased from 237 in 2009 to 2,844 in 2015, before dipping to 2,397 last year. In only about 3 percent of those cases have doctors, nurses or pharmacy employees been disciplined, according to VA data.
At private hospitals, reported drug losses or theft also rose -- from 2,023 in 2009 to 3,185 in 2015, before falling slightly to 3,154 last year. There is a bigger pool of private U.S. hospitals, at least 4,369, according to the American Hospital Association. That means the rate of drug loss or theft is lower than VA's.
The VA inspector general's office said it had opened 25 cases in the first half of the fiscal year which began Oct. 1. That is up from 21 in the same period in 2016.
The IG's office said the number of newly opened criminal probes had previously been declining since 2014.
Michael Glavin, an IT specialist at the VA, says he's heard numerous employee complaints of faulty VA technical systems that track drug inventories, leading to errors and months of delays in identifying when drugs go missing. Prescription drug shipments aren't always fully inventoried when they arrive at a VA facility, he said, making it difficult to determine if a drug was missing upon arrival or stolen later.
Congressional auditors this year found that at least four VA hospitals skipped monthly inspections of drug stocks or missed other requirements, even after warnings about lax oversight dating back to at least 2009.
"It's still the same process," said Glavin, who heads the local union at the VA medical center in Columbia, Missouri. The union's attorney, Natalie Khawam, says whistleblowers at other VA hospitals have made similar complaints.
Criminal investigators stressed the need for a continuing drug prevention effort. The VA points to inventory checks every 72 hours and "double lock and key access" to drugs. It attributes many drug loss cases to reasons other than employee theft, such as drugs lost in transit. But the DEA says some of those cases may be wrongly classified.
"Inventories are always an issue as to who's watching or checking it," said Tom Prevoznik, a DEA deputy chief of pharmaceutical investigations. "That would always be part of any investigation we do, asking 'What are the employees doing, and who's watching them?'"
The Senate is expected to vote June 6 on VA accountability legislation that would give the agency "the tools necessary to remove employees who are failing to perform at the high-quality level." A lead sponsor of the bipartisan bill, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pointed to AP's findings as "troubling."
"The theft and misuse of prescription drugs, including opioids, by some VA employees is a good example of why we need greater accountability at the VA," he said.