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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Assoc Va Director Faces


Berta

Question

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/tnm/press_releas...6/10_17_06.html

Home | Our Staff | U.S. Attorney | Middle District Counties | About DOJ | Victim Witness

LECC | Press Releases | Language Assistance | Links

U.S. Department of Justice

Office of the United States Attorney

Middle District of Tennesse

Craig S. Morford

United States Attorney

Bret C. Hester

Eli J. Richardson

Assistant U.S. Attorneys

(615) 736-5151

FEDERAL OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO 46 MONTHS ON CORRUPTION CHARGE

Nashville, TN - October 17, 2006 –" Natalie Coker, the former associate director of a major United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility was sentenced to 46 months in prison by United States District Court Judge Robert L. Echols.

Coker pled guilty earlier this year to a public corruption charge in connection with her duties at the VA. Coker was the Associate Director of the VA’s Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The CMOP mails prescription drugs and other pharmaceutical products to eligible veterans at subsidized prices. The CMOP currently has an annual budget of approximately $500 million.

Coker was convicted of violating a federal conflict-of-interest law that under certain circumstances prohibits a public official from negotiating for post-government employment with companies that do business with the government. Coker admitted to negotiating for employment with a private company at the same time she was involved in her official capacity in the CMOP’s establishment of a business relationship with that company.

In determining Coker’s sentence, Judge Echols also found that Coker had demanded and received kickbacks from companies doing business with the VA. He found that she personally received more than $115,000 in kickbacks from a company that was selling security tape to the VA at inflated prices and that her actions contributed to more than $400,000 in total losses to the VA. In explaining the sentence, Judge Echols said that a combination of power and greed perpetuated the illegal activity and that Ms. Coker made conscious decisions to deceive and defraud. Judge Echols also fined Coker $10,000 and imposed a three-year term of post-incarceration supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Craig S. Morford said, “The 46-month sentence imposed by the Court reflects the seriousness of the crime. Government employees cannot exploit their positions of public trust for personal gain. The public in general and veterans in particular, who rely on VA employees to be good stewards of public funds, need to have confidence in the public officials who are given the privilege and responsibility of serving them.”

This case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the VA’s Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigation Division. The United States was represented in this case by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bret Hester and Eli Richardson."

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Well, that's ONE that they caught. Hope they don't think that they are through, though. :)

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Greed, Greed, Greed, That about sums it up.

She probally go to the West Virginia Hilton where Martha Stewart went to spend her time.

Then get another VA job and do it again.

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Mandatory periodic polygraphs for anyone controlling purchasing decisions or overseeing budgets would solve that problem.

The principle is the same as the military demanding periodic drug screenings for service personnel, so it seems to me the federal government has already set the precedent for this sort of thing.

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  • In Memoriam

Vets suffer because of Professional VA Drug Ring Dealers.

http://www.csdp.org/news/news/oxycontin.htm

Dr. William Hurwitz Granted New Trial

Dr. William Hurwitz, the Northern Virginia physician whose case became a cause célèbre in pain management and drug policy reform circles, was granted a new trial by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in August 2006. The New York Sun reported on Aug. 24, 2006 ("Doctor In VA Drug-Trafficking Case Granted New Trial") that "Medical groups are hailing a federal appeals court's decision to grant a new trial to a Virginia doctor accused of drug trafficking for prescribing large quantities of narcotics to his patients. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that jurors at the 2004 trial of Dr. William Hurwitz of McLean, Va., were improperly prevented from considering whether he acted in good faith. He was convicted on 50 counts and sentenced to 25 years in prison. An appeals court judge, William Traxler Jr., wrote that the jury should have been told that Dr. Hurwitz committed no crime if he had a reasonable, good-faith belief that the prescriptions were appropriate medical care. 'A doctor's good faith in treating his patients is relevant to the jury's determination of whether the doctor acted beyond the bounds of legitimate medical practice,' Judge Traxler said. 'The district court effectively deprived the jury of the opportunity to consider Hurwitz's defense.'"

According to the Sun, "Prosecutors argued that Dr. Hurwitz wildly overprescribed pain-killing drugs such as OxyContin and Dilaudid, giving one patient prescriptions for more than half a million pills over a 40-month period. The government also said there was evidence the physician suspected that some of his patients were selling a portion of their prescribed medicines. Defense attorneys contended that Dr. Hurwitz acted within professional standards and that patients suffering from long-term pain can require extremely high doses of narcotics because smaller doses often become ineffective over time. The defense acknowledged that Dr. Hurwitz had been disciplined by state medical boards, but said those agencies "were back in the Stone Age.""

The Sun noted that " A past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Dr. Scott Fishman, said his group has not formally endorsed or rejected Dr. Hurwitz's methods, but filed an amicus brief because the court proceedings put all doctors in jeopardy. "On the surface, this is a case that appears to be an issue around a doctor who is at the extreme of practice, if not over the line," Dr. Fishman, a professor at the University of California at Davis, said. "It was about whether he got a fair trial. We felt if we didn't stand up in this case, future legitimate appropriately prescribing physicians could be prosecuted as drug dealers. We're trying to protect patients." A libertarian-oriented physicians group, the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, offered a more robust defense of Dr. Hurwitz. "Billy Hurwitz is an accomplished physician at the cutting edge of medicine, trying to help his patients," a lawyer for the group, Andrew Schlafly of Far Hills, N.J., said. "This guy published articles in medical journals. He had a medical approach." Mr. Schlafly said federal prosecutors overreached by using the criminal justice system to control doctors. "The federal government has no business mischaracterizing a doctor as a drug dealer and interfering in the states' regulation of the practice of medicine," the lawyer said."

A copy of the appeals court's decision can be downloaded by clicking here or from the CSDP site.

The Hurwitz case was allegedly what prompted the DEA to withdraw its guidelines for pain management prescribing practices, which it had issued a few months before the doctor's conviction. The Washington Post reported on Nov. 30, 2004 ("New DEA Statement Has Pain Doctors More Fearful") that "Advocates for aggressive pain management said the DEA's abrupt turnaround appeared to have been triggered when defense lawyers tried to introduce the earlier pain guidelines in the trial of Hurwitz, the McLean doctor, in late September. The DEA took the document off its Web site soon after. About two weeks later, U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty, who is prosecuting Hurwitz, filed a motion asking that the guidelines be excluded as evidence, saying that they do "not have the force and effect of law." U.S. District Judge Leonard D. Wexler ruled in favor of the government."

According to the Post, "An extensive effort to ease tensions between physicians who specialize in treating pain and the Drug Enforcement Administration over the use of morphine-based painkillers has backfired -- leaving many pain doctors and patients more fearful than before that they could be arrested for practicing what they consider good medicine. The DEA triggered the new impasse this month when it published a statement clarifying its position on a number of issues central to pain medicine. The document discusses when a doctor is at risk of being investigated for alleged prescription drug diversion, whether patients with known drug problems can ever be prescribed narcotic painkillers and whether doctors can give patients prescriptions to be filled on a future date. On all these issues, the new DEA position is at odds with a set of guidelines negotiated over several years by DEA officials and a group of leading pain-management experts. Those guidelines were posted on the agency's Web site in August as part of an effort to reassure doctors who properly prescribe narcotics, but several weeks later the document was abruptly removed and described by the agency as inaccurate and unofficial."

For more on the Guidelines, see DEA Withdraws Its Pain Prescription Guidelines.

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  • In Memoriam

I guess there is a point of going to far, in some communications, with the VA. Beware

FL 33744

In Reply Refer To:

January 21, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(727) 319-1214

Kentucky Veteran Pleads Guilty After Threatening VA Medical Center Director and Employees

Ronald E. Wilson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Southeast Regional Field Office, Bay Pines, FL, announced today that veteran XXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX pled guilty to Harassing Communications in Fayette County, Kentucky, Criminal Court. VA OIG Agents and the VA Police originally arrested XXXXXX for leaving messages on his VA doctor's answering machine stating that he was going to "shoot any VA employees he came in contact with in the next 10 days." XXXXXX went on to specifically mention the Medical Center Director. Prior to his guilty plea XXXXXX underwent a psychiatric evaluation.

XXXXXX was sentenced to one year in the Fayette County, KY Detention Center but was released on probation after serving 38 days of this sentence. A stipulation of XXXXXX'S probation is that he is to have no contact with the Department of Veterans Medical Center in Lexington, KY or the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Somerset, KY. If this stipulation is violated, XXXXXX will spend the remainder of his one-year sentence in the Fayette County Detention Center.

Fayette County, Kentucky, Assistant County Attorney Jennifer True prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Well that will get their attention, What the Veteran should have said was..What if I shoot the VA Director would that get me help?

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