The Veterans Health Administration (VA), which is the largest healthcare system in the U.S., serving more than nine million veterans across the United States, has once again come under fire due to a USA Today investigation report, reported by The Blaze, revealing that VA hospital executives deliberately hired physicians with past malpractice accusations and revoked medical licenses.

What happened?

A federal law, passed in Congress in 1999, forbids VA hospitals and clinics from hiring any physician, nurse, or other healthcare worker that has had their medical licenses revoked in any state, but, it appears that this did not stop the VA from hiring license-revoked medical practitioners.

The USA Today report showed that the Veterans Administration (in 2002) issued national guidelines that did permit Va Hospitals to hire workers after consideration of all pertinent facts pertaining to those who had revoked medical licenses.

In one case, the USA Today investigation found that VA hospital officials in Iowa City, Iowa, had manipulated VA guidelines when, earlier this year, they hired neurosurgeon John Schneider. Schneider revealed in his employment application that the state of Wyoming had revoked his medical license. His license was revoked due to copious malpractice claims, various lawsuit settlements, and a healthcare patient of his, an Army veteran, that died due to Schneider’s negligence, but nevertheless, those hospital officials went ahead and hired Schneider, totally ignoring his medical malpractice background.

In Schneider’s healthcare malpractice report, the claims against him included situations where he made several surgical mistakes that left patients disfigured, paralyzed, or in one case, dead. That patient of note was a 65-year-old Army veteran, Richard Joseph Hopkins, who died as a result of a serious infection after having four brain surgeries done by Schneider.

Schneider ended up resigning in November after he was questioned by USA Today investigators, but he continued to deny that he provided unacceptable care or caused any complications that resulted in poor outcomes for his patients. Surprisingly enough, the Iowa City VA hospital admitted to USA Today that they were operating under what they said were so-called “incorrect guidance” when they hired Schneider.

While the Schneider case caught national attention, the USA Today report also centered on other cases at other VA hospitals including a Louisiana VA clinic, where one of their healthcare providers, a psychologist, was able to gain employment, despite the fact that he stated in his application previous felony convictions.

What does the VA plan to do about it?

Veteran Administration Secretary David Shulkin spoke to USA Today and stated that he has ordered a complete revision of the VA hiring guidelines and instituted a nationwide evaluation to determine if any other VA health providers at various VA hospitals and clinics, have previous or present revoked licenses, and to immediately dismiss those individuals. Shulkin said, “It’s very clear to me that our job is to have the best quality doctors that we can provide to take care of veterans, and that’s going to be our policy.” Shulkin continued and stated that those VA Health Care Providers who have past sanctions against them will also be evaluated to guarantee that they are providing the absolute best care to veterans across the country.

As a result of the damning USA Today VA hospitals report, which appears to be an on-going investigation, approximately 50 members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, have called on the VA to provide solutions.