On the day after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on health care, the Dayton Daily News chooses to publish a front page story on a tiny screwup by the Dayton VA. Coincidence? Or, an attempt to sell their rag?
The VA medical system is the largest health care system in the United States, and unlike the for-profit hospitals, they don’t buy full page ads in the DDN on a regular basis, or advertise on Channel 7. And, as a veteran who gets all his care there- they also don’t use paper records- and haven’t for the last 7 or 8 years- when they made the switch to entirely digital record keeping- something the DDN fails to mention in this article:
A disabled Marine veteran received a letter from the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center this week stating that personal medical records for him and other veterans — documents including birth dates and Social Security numbers — were found in the former home of a deceased VA staff employee.
Angelo Arnold, 51, of Centerville said he plans to contact a lawyer about suing the VA to allege that his privacy rights were violated.
The letter from the VA said “records pertaining to you” were among those found in the Centerville home of a deceased former employee. The current owner of the home contacted Centerville police after finding a lid-covered box of records this spring in the home’s attic.
Arnold said a Dayton VA official told him the records included his and those of 15 other veterans. The VA confirmed that number Thursday night and said it is notifying each veteran.
“This is a grievous injustice to veterans,” Arnold told the Daily News in an interview Thursday. “My rights have been totally violated. Someone has to be accountable at the Dayton VA. This sends a message that certain VA staffers are very careless and reckless with our files. Our case files should be protected.”…
Arnold received the letter from the Dayton VA Wednesday, and on Thursday obtained copies of approximately 300 pages of records. Those records dated to 1980 and included a detailed accounting of his injuries, medications and medical conditions.
While Mr. Arnold rightfully should be unhappy with the VA, unless there is proof that either these records were used for malicious purposes such as identity theft, or that these records weren’t already digitized and in his file, thereby causing his benefits to remain unchanged- his claims sound more like the coaxing of a reporter or an accident-chasing attorney than most vets I know who get their care at the Dayton VA.
While it is in vogue to say things like “we need smaller government” or “government doesn’t do as good a job as the private sector” when it comes to the VA, by all accounts, the level of care for the tax dollar is much more effectively spent. And, despite the wayward dentist who should have been fired long ago at the Dayton VA, compared to the debacle at MVH where patients died from Legionnaire’s disease soon after the new wing opened, this records issue isn’t even worth a blurb on page 6.