Report finds Salisbury VA hired physicians with credential concerns without secondary approval

Published 12:04 am Sunday, April 3, 2022

SALISBURY — Two physicians whose licenses were previously suspended or on probation were hired by the Salisbury VA Medical Center without secondary approval, according to a report issued last week by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.

The Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection report published on Tuesday provides a “focused evaluation of the leadership performance and oversight” at Salisbury’s W.G. Bill Hefner VA Medical Center and several other centers in the VA’s regional service network.

According to the report, three physicians hired across the network were not approved by the region’s chief medical officer despite having “potentially disqualifying licensure action.” The Veterans Health Administration requires any physician who has or has had a license suspended, revoked or on probation go through a “thorough documented review,” including approval from the chief medical officer or regional network. The report stated that failure to conduct the required secondary review could result in “inappropriate hiring decisions that jeopardize the quality of patient care.”

Two of those physicians were hired at the Salisbury VA.

One physician hired by the Salisbury VA in August of 2019 had a North Carolina license suspended in 2012 and an Illinois license suspended in 2013. The acting chief medical officer stated that information regarding those suspensions was not provided to the facility until about six weeks after the physician was on duty, according to the report. The acting chief medical officer also stated that the Salisbury VA’s deputy chief of staff did not believe the case met requirements for secondary approval from the chief medical officer.

The second physician hired by the Salisbury VA in August of 2019 had a license placed on probation in June of 2014. The chief medical officer reported speaking to the Salisbury VA’s deputy chief of staff and being told the facility’s credentialing team did not believe the adverse action warranted further review.

The report did not divulge why the two physicians had their licenses suspended or placed on probation.

Both of the physicians are still employed by the Salisbury VA.

“We appreciate the Office of Inspector General’s report and want to assure the public that all three physicians listed in the report are appropriately credentialed and remain fully committed to providing the exceptional care that our veterans have earned,” the Veterans Integrated Services Network said in a statement.

After learning of the report’s findings, the Salisbury VA’s leadership “assembled to conduct a more thorough evaluation” of the physicians listed in the report.

“Since that time, credentialing and verification reeducation have been conducted, and the physicians’ credentials have gone through two licensure reviews at the facility level, the region, (Office of Inspector General), and with VA’s Office of General Counsel, and all three physicians listed were found to be appropriately credentialed,” the VA said in a statement.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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