Clarksburg VAMC accused of data manipulation

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - UPDATE 3:33 PM

The Louis A. Johnson Veteran Affairs Medical Center has released a statement in regards to accusations that the center intentionally manipulated patient data to "artificially reduce reported wait times and the volume of patient visits."

The center stated:
As the Office of Special Counsel states, VA "immediately discontinued the practice, developed a process for clinic approvals, and educated leadership and staff on the requirements contained in agency directives violated in this matter. The agency is currently determining how to recoup lost payments. In addition, the VA counseled the manager responsible for the creation of these improper clinics."

Original Story
The Louis A. Johnson Veteran Affairs Medical Center faces accusations of intentionally manipulating patient data, according to an Oct. 3 press release from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

In a letter sent to the White House and Congress, the OSC accused the center of manipulating data to "artificially reduce reported wait times and the volume of patient visits."

The OSC said the investigation began after a confidential whistleblower came forward with the disclosures.

According to the investigative report, over the last seven years a manager at the facility tried to influence nursing staff to place emergency patients in two unofficial clinics, rather than record their emergency department visits.

The V.A. is also accused of improperly coding patient encounters for medical billing purposes.

The press release states that the V.A. informed the OSC it charged 602 veterans an incorrect payment, resulting in $21,070 in lost revenue for the clinic.

The OSC claims the facility has since put a stop to the practice, and counseled the manager responsible for the creation of the improper clinics.