The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to be troubled by fraud and operational problems in its massive home loan guaranty program and faces a wide variety of problems running its 172 hospitals, according to the report of acting Inspector General Renald P. Morani.
The hospitals were said to have difficulties tracking and monitoring pacemaker devices implanted in some veterans and some still have failed to check the backgrounds of all their physicians, a high priority of VA Secretary Edward J. Derwinski. The report also said the department needs to further reduce the length of hospital stays, estimating that the VA could reduce total patient days by 1.2 million a year with better management.
Twenty-eight criminal cases were opened during the six months ending March 31 in the ongoing fraud investigation in the home loan guaranty program and 30 were closed. That brings indictments since the investigation began in 1984 to 295, the report said.
The department launched 41 personnel actions against its workers as a result of IG investigations during the six-month period. The acting chief of prosthetics at a VA hospital resigned after she was discovered to have directed "a significant amount of business" to a firm where her husband was employed.
A senior nurse who had established an "impaired nurse program" at a hospital was discharged after investigators discovered she had been arrested on a shoplifting charge and was found in possession of drugs and paraphernalia. The program she founded was discontinued, the report said.