Back on May 21, when then VA Secretary Eric Shinseki fired the Under Secretary for Veterans Health, Robert Pelzer, for the mushrooming scandal in veterans health care, never mind that Dr. Pelzer had been planning to retire and his replacement has been nominated by Obama two weeks earlier, we pointed out that this was merely shifting the deck chairs on the Hindenberg.
The replacement, Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, seems to be potentially as compromised, perhaps moreso, than his predecessor.
August 2001 – August 2002 Assistant Chief, Department of Medicine Hines VA Hospital (VAH) Hospital
August 2002 – January 2006 Associate Chief, Medicine and Neurology Service Hines VAH, IL
February 2006 – January 2009 Chief Medical Officer, VA (VISN) Region 12 (Great Lakes)
March 2009 – Present Network Director (Chief Executive Officer) VISN Region 12 (Great Lakes)
In short, for the past thirteen years Dr. Murawsky has been in senior medical management positions in either the Hines VAH in Chicago or in the network that manages seven VAHs and 30 outpatient-type clinics in the Great Lakes area.
A fair question would be where do these facilities stand in the current scandal? We know that at least 26 VAHs are under investigation. No one has published a list, one which we can expect to expand once investigators hit their stride and become familiar with the various scheduling scams being run.
Via the Chicago Tribune:
Just hours after the embattled Veterans Affairs secretary resigned, Sen. Mark Kirk said he had seen evidence of a “culture of corruption” at a suburban Chicago VA hospital where he said patients faced long wait times to receive care.
Even when a patient finally saw a doctor at Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital, Kirk said he was told by hospital workers that key medical tests were sometimes never interpreted.
“We learned some pretty sad stories about boxes and boxes of echocardiograms being not read,” said Kirk, who called on Hines Director Joan Ricard to resign. “And when the physician went back to the box, they found that several of the veterans had already died long after the echocardiogram had been taken but not read.”
The senator spoke to reporters next to Germaine Clarno, a Hines social worker who is also local president of a union that represents employees at the hospital. Clarno said she’s heard from many Hines employees about records falsification and other problems at the medical center, but she said they wouldn’t identify themselves to the media out of fear of retaliation.
“The culture of intimidation, harassment, for individuals to stand up and speak for quality care is out of control,” Clarno said.
Clearly this fell under Dr. Murawsky’s purview as CEO and Chief Medical Officer of the region.
Via CBS News:
Clarno says veterans were put on secret waiting lists when they called for appointments, but they wouldn’t formally get an appointment booked in the computer until one came up within the VA’s goal of 14 days. The purpose of the lists, she says, was to hide how often veterans were not being seen on time.
Clarno says the purpose of the lists was “to make numbers look better for their own recognition and for bonuses.”
Interesting note here: The VA is actually denying any “secret lists” exist despite widespread testimony across the nation to the contrary.
At a minimum, it seems very unlikely that widespread maladministration could have occurred in Dr. Murawsky’s region without him being at least cognizant of the practice. The fact that the allegations are coming out of Hines VAMC are more troubling because it is the flagship facility in that region. One can’t help but notice that the VAH director at ground zero of the current scandal Phoenix VAH Sharon Helman was the hospital director at Hines VAH when Murawsky was the CEO who supervised that facility. The Obama regime seems to be distancing themselves from the nomination before the man has finished hanging the drapes:
On Monday, amid questions about Mr. Murawsky’s nomination, Mr. Carney said the administration wouldn’t presuppose the outcome of the inspector general’s investigation and that those responsible for any wrongdoing uncovered would be held accountable.
“When it comes to Jeffrey Murawsky, the president’s nominee to be the undersecretary for health for the Veterans Health Administration, as required by law, he was one of the finalists recommended by a formal commission that included outside health experts and researchers as well as representatives from veteran service organizations,” Mr. Carney said.
By appointing Dr. Murawsky at Undersecretary for Veterans Health without taking adequate steps to vet his performance even as the scandal was developing, the Obama regime has again shown its contempt for the government it holds hostage and for American veterans.