WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa are demanding answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding their national review of all VA health care provider licenses in order to certify that no doctors have been hired illegally. Grassley and Ernst’s call for answers follows a disturbing report that shed light on illegal hiring practices at VA hospitals, including the Iowa City VA. The VA has since failed to meet the February 2018 review deadline they established in their response to Grassley and Ernst.
“Ensuring qualified, professional staff are caring for our nation’s veterans is crucial, and we need to know the men and women who have served this country are receiving the best possible care,” Grassley said. “The hiring practices at VA directly impact the lives of veterans from Iowa and every state. The VA has an obligation to our veterans and the public to share the findings of their internal review.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation and it is unacceptable that the VA has failed to ensure that the doctors treating our veterans are certified to do so,” Ernst, a combat veteran, said. “I’m calling on the VA to make it a top priority to complete the national license review and make the results public, as they stated would be finished last month. These findings are critical to ensure an unqualified and improperly licensed doctor is never allowed to practice at the VA again.”
While steps were taken to remove the doctor in question, the Iowa Senators sent a follow-up letter with additional questions to ensure this type of malfeasance would not be allowed to happen again within the VA. In a response letter received by the Senators on January 25, 2018, the VA stated that they would be conducting a national review of provider licenses and that it would be “completed by the end of February 2018.” Grassley and Ernst have yet to receive the findings of the review.