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Foia,privacy Act


Berta
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Question

I have a stack of FOIAs/Privacy Act letters since 1995 asking the VA for some specific info-

I recently found out (after many Foia denials , appeals etc etc over he years)- that the info is Public Record but it took me years to find that out.

I have asked the CHairman of the H VAC to look into the situation and have a hearing on it-(the reason I have sought this info for years)

My latest attempt with a FOIA at the OGC went to the Upstate VISN and then to the local Bath VA and was denied.

The VA has denied under the Privacy Act- public records!

(They dont know I have the public records I asked them for and wanted to make one more attempt to have the VA cough up the goods.which they do NOT want me to know- what I recently found out -long story)

If you use FOIA and/or Privacy Act 5, USC 552, make sure you appeal the VA denials and use the exceptions and argue your point as best you can.

FOIAs and Privacy Act letters have revealed numerous ways in which the VA operates these days- and it isnt always kosher-

(H VAC committee testimony this year)

and it pays-if you are seeking federal info this way- to keep up the fight to get it.

This FOIA matter I have began in 1995 with the VA and continues.

But that is the way to persist- when the Feds say they are denying a FOIA under Privacy Act exception. There are many ways to skin a cat and to get VA information.

And I have been receipient of some fabulous FOIA stuff because the FOIA officers (in other fed departments to include the VA ) didnt know what they were doing and sen me stuff I shouldn't have gotten. B)

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The FOIA is a tricky animal. When I was active duty, one of my jobs was a FOIA manager. When you submit a FOIA request the most important thing is the wording of your request. Asking for exactly what you want and explaining it to the nth degree!

The FOIA manager passes the letter on to the POC of the information and tracks the deadlines. And yes, the VA just loves to "hide" info under the Privacy Act umbrella.

In fact, I'm getting ready to submit another FOIA to the Dayton VA. Trust me, agencies just hate FOIA requests!!! It's right on their list behind Congressionals.

So use them, just use them well!

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Pray tell, what is all this fabulous "stuff" that has been released under FOIA. I think it would be more helpful to other veterans, to share some specific information, rather than vague innuendos. ~Wings

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It isnt any mystery stuff- I posted what this was all about in past posts-

When anyone receives an FTCA cash settlement from the VA- the VA has a mandatory agreement to report the doctors and the amount of the settlement to the National Practicioners Data Bank-

Carlie here and I found out this was not done when we settled with the VA.

At the rate VA is going with no accurate suicide stats and

lacking the ability to give other pertinent statistics and info to the H VAC-

I am trying to support my request to the H VAC for a hearing on this by -at least in my case- showing the VA that even with many VA doctors found negligent to my husband-NONE of them were reported to the NPDB.

I thought when I settled with VA that at least Rod's death would prevent other malpractice when the VA reported these doctors-I was wrong all these years.

NPRB Data banks are public knowledge in mostr states- if your VA doc committed negligence in the past their name will be in the HHS lists.

Paul Sullivan, vet's Lawyer VCS-whose FOIAs revealed a lot the public didnt know about VA (H VAC hearings this year )was shocked to find out that VA isnt doing this reporting properly but he was even more shocked when I told him 1151 claims dont even have to get reported.

If the VA damages or kills a vet due to negligence and a FTCA settlement is paid, the public and all other potential medical employers have a right to know

who the doctor was and how they were charged with negligence in the data base.

Healthgrades.com usually only tells the public the info they have from doctors who volunteered the info for them to post.

Richard Swango (who killed many vets posing as a doctor or nurse at VAs) would have never committed these crimes if he had been sued for his first negligence -

and if the VA actually reported him to the NPDB.

The VA and other hospitals never even checked his credentials well before they hired him.

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Berta, How many vets search VA Doctors' credentials? If a sick vet has no other medical insurance (many do not), we get what they give us.

It sure would be nice to know the doctor you were going to visit that day has already killed other vets through negligence or malicious intent (it has happened); I would definately cancell that scheduled surgery and risk the VA revoking future medical appointments. No problem. Better off sick than dead (sometimes).

Are you saying there's already a list of Bad VA Doctors? I'd like to see it. We could protest a doctor that was killing brothers and sisters if we knew about him/her.

It does help to know what info you had secured through FOIA. In the goverment verything commes out in the wash --sooner or later (much later to do any good).

I'd like the Government to create far fewer disabled vets, and less of a need for doctors. But the one's they do give us --should be good, really woorth their salt. Why not give a veteran at least this much?!

I just assume all VA doctor types are really very bad doctors, unless they prove otherwise. This attitude has kept me alive --in some ways.

Keep on keeping on Berta!! ~Wings

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It works like this-

if a doctor or many doctors are found by VA, under a FTCA tort claim, to have caused a "payment" from the USA and settlement-

they have to be charged with the "payment" by a report to the NPDB.

The Department of Health and Human Services ,here in NY and in most states, publishes this report of negligent doctors on line.They get VA info from the NPDB if and when the VA reports the charges.

A GAO report I found revealed that they knew VA was not reporting in a timely fashion- what the GAO report did not reveal-(because they would have no knowledge of it)

is if the amount of money (which can be millions annually)

that VA pays out under FTCA actrually compares to the amounts "charged" to doctors via the NPDB.

Unfortunately neither the GAO or the H VAC or anyone else-the general public or vets using VA health care system- knows what VA doctors were charges for negligence unless recipients of VA settlements start to access the data bases.

You scroll through the entire state list-which can be extensive to see if your doctor's name is there.

Some doctors have other types of disciplinary actions- and so all are not specifically malpractice doctors-

I know that Carlie here and I were sure not the only FTCAers in the whole USA they didnt report properly for these settlements.

I have written to the GAO and expect a response soon-

as the GAO report did not account for what the GAO didnt know at time of the report- also I have asked Congressman Filner to look into this and

when my AO claim gets resolved I am ordering and paying for an enire new copy of my husband's med recs to be used as evidence so that I accurately name and report these doctors myself-and dont leave any out-old med recs do not have the pages numbered.

It is worth it to me (and hopefully this will help other vets) to get a fresh complete copy of these med recs and maybe this time all of the copies will be legible.

It took me many many months to get a legible copy of a record- a VERY important medical record-from the VA-

this record -when VA finally sent one I could read-

prompted a former VA doctor who remembered my husband to provide a brief but powerful IMO to me.

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I just checked on-line at the NPDB site and read this information:

"Access to information in the NPDB is available to entities that meet the eligibility requirements defined in the provisions of P.L. 99-660 and the NPDB regulations pdf_icon.gif. In order to access information, entities must first register with the Data Bank.

NPDB information is not available to the general public. However, information in a form that does not identify any particular entity or practitioner is available"

So.....the info is not available to the general public and they won't identify the docs...is there really any way to find out just how bad these VA docs are????

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