VA to in­ves­ti­gate claims of bil­lions spent im­prop­erly

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - Andis Robeznieks

Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Robert McDon­ald has di­rected the depart­ment’s in­spec­tor gen­eral to in­ves­ti­gate a whis­tle-blower’s claims that the VA spends some $5 bil­lion a year on pros­thet­ics and other sup­plies with­out con­tracts.

The is­sues were raised in a memo sent March 19 to McDon­ald by Jan Frye, deputy as­sis­tant VA sec­re­tary for ac­qui­si­tion and lo­gis­tics, who tes­ti­fied to a House sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing last week on waste, fraud and abuse in the VA pur­chase-card pro­gram. Frye said he did not want to be party to vi­o­la­tions in the pro­cure­ment of drugs and med­i­cal de­vices with­out con­tracts that pro­vide legal pro­tec­tion and safety and ef­fi­cacy man­dates.

McDon­ald said in a writ­ten state­ment that “se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions have been made re­gard­ing VA’s pur­chase au­thor­i­ties and we are work­ing dili­gently to re­view them.” He added that “the vast ma­jor­ity” of trans­ac­tions cited in Frye’s memo paid for vet­er­ans’ care.

Rep. Mike Coff­man (R-Colo.), chair­man of the House sub­com­mit­tee, said dur­ing the hear­ing that the VA may have spent as much as $6.22 bil­lion on “im­proper and unau­tho­rized pro­cure­ment ex­pen­di­tures” in fis­cal 2014. With­out con­tracts, he said, pa­tient-safety pro­vi­sions are not re­quired, po­ten­tially ex­pos­ing vet­er­ans to harm from faulty prod­ucts. “Among other things, pur­chase-card abuse in­vites crony­ism and the di­rect­ing of busi­ness to fa­vored ven­dors,” Coff­man said.

The VA could save as much as 20% on med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal ac­qui­si­tion costs if it lever­aged its spend­ing costs us­ing tiered pric­ing to get lower prices for higher vol­ume, Frye wrote. “It’s a no­brainer,” he said.—

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.