A 240-pound Department of Veterans Affairs nurse’s aide charged with manslaughter in the death of a 70-year-old patient was returned to work at the hospital this month three days before hitting the two-year mark of being on paid leave, against the department’s own policy.
The unexplained move seems similar to the department’s past efforts to game statistics rather than fix underlying problems. Powerful congressmen like Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, have begun routinely requesting spreadsheets from agencies that break down the number of people on paid leave into brackets, such as less than one month, less than six months, and more than two years.
They have identified the VA as a prime abuser of extended paid leave. Two or more years is at the extreme end of the spectrum, and the few employees in that category attract extra attention.
The department previously said that according to its policy, the employee should be on paid leave until his trial in March, 2016.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported Wednesday that a VA “internal investigation” found that Fredrick Kevin Harris violated no policies and was not “negligent”after an elderly hospitalized veteran died at a Louisiana hospital.
The local coroner, VA inspector general and prosecutors all concluded that manslaughter or worse was involved, and witnesses told them they saw Harris striking the man, who died of blunt force trauma to the head. Harris is out on bail.
Thursday, in response to TheDCNF’s questions, the department told Congress that “[a]ll VA investigative processes were followed. Internal VA investigations look to see if policies and procedures are followed, not for possible criminal activity.”
Separately, VA told The DCNF that the department’s inspector general staff, which is designed to avoid conflicts of interest in “internal investigations,” and whose work can lead to criminal charges, only becomes involved if an internal review finds evidence of criminal activity, a seeming contradiction since they do not look for it.
In this case, however, it was the coroner’s intervention, not the VA internal investigation, that led to a criminal probe by the IG. The incident occurred at the Alexandria, Louisiana VA Medical Center on March 13, 2013.
“On April 5, 2013, he returned to patient care since the internal investigation did not find negligence on the employee’s part. The employee remained in his position until his arrest on December 10, 2013,” the department said.
“In accordance with VA polices, since there was not an indictment, the employee was placed on Administrative Leave until the conclusion of the trial.” The trial is in March, 2016.
But the day after TheDCNF inquired about Harris’s status, and three days before he hit the two-year mark on paid administrative leave, he was returned to the VA workplace.
“The employee bonded out of jail on December 17, 2013. The employee has been on Administrative leave but has since returned to duty in a non-patient care area effective December 7, 2015,” the VA said.
On Dec. 9, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told the House Veterans Affairs Committee that “I have no idea” what Harris’ work status was, but he claimed to have a “sense of urgency” about the two-year old case.
Manipulation of administrative leave in the Harris case recalls the VA’s notorious practice of keeping two sets of patient care waiting lists, one that was used for oversight metrics and when calculating employee bonuses, and a second for actual medical appointments. As a result, thousands of veterans were forced to wait months for care, and dozens died before receiving it.
But no high-ranking employees, and only three low-level ones, have been fired. It appears that when the VA wants to appease congressional or media critics, or prevent poor-performing employees from doing further damage, the department pays them to stay home instead of firing them, leading to subsequent pressure from Congress to deal with both administrative leave and employee terminations.
A VA spokesman declined to discuss the return of Harris to work status, but the case suggests manipulating data to create a false impression of the extent to which administrative leave is used.
“What on earth is the VA thinking?” asked Rep. Tom MacArthur, a New Jersey Republican on the Armed Services Committee whose district includes 65,000 veterans. Harris “is still employed and even received paid time off despite serving jail time, and that is truly disgusting,” MacArthur told TheDCNF Thursday.
“Despite increased funding and improved oversight, the VA has demonstrated continued systemic failure and incompetence. It leaves me to wonder what exactly does someone at the VA have to do to get fired, ” MacArthur said.
“Those of us working on legislation to tighten up excessive leave recognize that sometimes leave is the logical choice to protect fellow employees and members of the public. … The point of reforming leave policies is to get agencies to make decisions on leave more quickly, justify their decisions, and be as transparent,” Grassley told TheDCNF.
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, did not respond to a request for comment.
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Gov. Cuomo On Coronavirus Nursing Home Deaths: It’s Trump’s Fault
New York Gov. Cuomo doubled down on his state’s now-scrapped nursing home policy that critics say contributed to thousands of coronavirus deaths and instead blamed the problem on President Trump and his administration.
“New York followed the president’s agencies’ guidance,” he said, per Fox News. “What New York did was follow what the Republican Administration said to do. That’s not my attempt to politicize it. It’s my attempt to depoliticize it. So don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy.”
The only question is what were the Official CDC and White House Guidelines at the time the patients were sent to the nursing homes?
Cuomo On Coronavirus Nursing Home Deaths: It’s Trump’s Fault https://t.co/10yDiWNQyH
— lawrence jacobs (@patsy130) May 24, 2020
New York governor Andrew Cuomo is still defending his administration’s policy of sending COVID-19 positive individuals into nursing homes and other adult care facilities with populations at risk of contracting the deadly virus. This time though, he found a convenient target to blame for the illnesses and deaths: President Donald Trump.
At a press conference Saturday, Cuomo claimed that he was only following the president’s directives when he issued his nursing home plan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has, indeed, issued some guidance on coronavirus and nursing facilities, according to the network, but it refers largely to those individuals who might have been accepted at an adult care facility before the pandemic began, and does not appear to reference COVID-19 positive patients specifically.
Instead, the CDC guidance say that, “nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present.” The CDC also required that “any newly admitted and readmitted resident with a COVID-19 case to be placed in a designated COVID-19 care unit, while those who have met the criteria to have recovered can return to a regular unit in the nursing home,” according to Fox News. More
So what’s new about this? The liberal New York governor Andrew Cuomo has done what all liberals do and has attempted to blame others for his own inept actions. The really sad thing about his deflection is, some will actually believe him.
California Doctors Have Seen More Suicides Than Coronavirus Deaths
Once again, Trump is right. Closing down society is worse than the virus itself.
California doctors say they’ve seen more deaths from suicide than coronavirus since the lockdown began.
Most of the suicides have been younger people dealing with unprecedented levels of stress related to job loss and isolation in the midst of several months of quarantine measures, according to health workers at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, located 25 miles east of San Francisco.
California doctors say they've seen more deaths from suicide than coronavirus since lockdowns https://t.co/AFtkVLORme
— Ben Owen 😎 (@hrkbenowen) May 22, 2020
Doctors in Northern California say they have seen more deaths from suicide than they’ve seen from the coronavirus during the pandemic.
“The numbers are unprecedented,” Dr. Michael deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, told ABC 7 News about the increase of deaths by suicide, adding that he’s seen a “year’s worth of suicides” in the last four weeks alone.
DeBoisblanc said he believes it’s time for California officials to end the stay-at-home order and let people back out into their communities.
“Personally, I think it’s time,” he said. “I think, originally, this was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that, and our other community health is suffering.” More
For the first time in their lives, a lot of the pampered young people are facing hard times. Instead of helping them the Governor is giving illegals money.
This is what happens when you have lefty progressive children in power! Newsome takes orders from Aunt Nancy!
— Mike Spitz (@MikeSkipperret) May 22, 2020
What is wrong with these people? It’s only been two months, for heaven’s sake. The pioneers who built this country faced hostile natives, bear and cougar attacks, famine, drought, disease, life-threatening accidents with no doctors or hospitals, extreme weather that would shutter them in for entire seasons. Modern civilization has forgotten how to survive, and this epidemic is nothing in comparison.
15 Days After Lockdown Ease, Georgia Sees Lowest Day Of COVID Hospitalizations
Republican Governor Brian Kemp said Saturday that Georgia has its lowest number of hospitalized patients positive for the novel coronavirus since hospitals across the state started reporting the number in early April.
“Today marks the lowest number of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized statewide (1,203) since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8th,” Kemp posted to Twitter on Saturday. “Today also marks the lowest total of ventilators in use (897 with 1,945 available). We will win this fight together!”
Today marks the lowest number of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized statewide (1,203) since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8th.
Today also marks the lowest total of ventilators in use (897 with 1,945 available).
We will win this fight together! pic.twitter.com/byxACEiQCp
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 9, 2020
Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia celebrated the state’s lowest number of hospitalized novel coronavirus patients and the fewest number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators on Saturday, 15 days since the Republican loosened lockdown restrictions in the face of persistent attacks from the mainstream media and the public disapproval of President Donald Trump.
Respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 “typically appear an average of 5-6 days after exposure, but may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure,” per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UC San Diego Health notes.
As noted by The New York Times, Kemp reopened large parts of Georgia’s economy on April 24, adding, of course, COVID-19 precautions, like screening workers for fever.
According to a daunting CNN headline published April 28, “Georgia’s daily coronavirus deaths will nearly double by August with relaxed social distancing, model suggests.”
“Kemp allowed for the reopening of hair and nail salons, barber shops, massage businesses and gyms under new safety standards. He allowed restaurants and theaters to reopen with new restrictions Monday,” the CNN report said. “With the assumption of relaxed social distancing, the model predicts that the number of Covid-19 deaths per day in Georgia will jump from 32 people dying on May 1 to a projected 63 people dying per day by August 4.” More
So much for the doomsday experts. Governor Brian Kemp deserves some big applause for not backing down. Somebody had to step out and be the front runner. He did it and proved he has a backbone! Others are now following his lead. Congratulations Georgia!
Victor Davis Hanson: The ‘Credentialed Class’ Keeps Getting It Wrong On Coronavirus
Conservative commentator and historian Victor Davis Hanson criticized the expert elite for basically getting everything wrong during the Coronavirus pandemic, destroying the world economy and countless lives as a result.
Victor Davis Hanson said that it makes no sense that the United States adopted a one-size-fits-all approach to the pandemic considering that none of the models have turned out as predicted and just three states – New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – account for most of the country’s deaths.
“I think people realize something that their officials don’t. I’m speaking from California where next week we are supposed to have 25 million cases and 1 million dead; we have only 50,000 cases and 2,200 dead; it’s off by a huge magnitude,” Hanson began. “One size does not fit all. Even the monstrosities of the bureaucracies in Europe, the EU, doesn’t try to say that Germany’s policy will apply to Spain or Italy’s policies will apply to Germany. It doesn’t work that way. And we are a very diverse country.”
“Just three states: Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey account for about 55% of all the deaths and, yet, they only have about 11% of the population,” he continued. “But California and Texas and Florida, they have about 30% of all the people in the United States and they’ve had about 5,500 deaths, so they are just radically different situations. This one-size-fits-all doesn’t work.”
He added that the experts need to stop with the generalizations about the whole country and instead start focusing on why the outbreak hit those three states so badly.
“We need to focus on those three states and ask ourselves why 11 or 12% of the population has suffered 55% of the fatalities,” he said. “Is it the weather? Is it population density? Is it elevators and subways? The credentialed class has been wrong on almost everything and the people have lost confidence because they don’t address these basic practical questions that people want answered for.”
Dozens Dead After Lockdown Measures Delayed Heart Surgeries
At least 35 people died while waiting for treatment after hospitals were cleared for coronavirus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott: “Decisions on delayed treatments were made by teams of doctors and other medical professionals as per pandemic plans written years ago.”
This is terrible, and it was preventable.
— Oregon Tech Guy (@oregontechguy) May 5, 2020
“Unintended consequences” is a phrase progressives don’t seem to understand.
Tens of thousands of medical procedures have been postponed in Ontario, Canada, anticipating a novel coronavirus patient surge that has yet to come, a report from the independent Financial Accountability Office (FAO) found late last month.
Delayed heart surgeries, for example, have already resulted in around 35 deaths, a University Health Network (UHN) report states.
“A report has been released today by UHN with respect to cardiac deaths and it has been estimated that approximately 35 people may have passed away because their surgeries were not performed,” Health Minister Christine Elliott acknowledged last Tuesday, according to Toronto Star.
“Any death that happened because of COVID-19 — whether directly or indirectly — is a tragedy,” Elliott continued. “We feel for those families who’ve lost family members — whether it has been from cancer death, cardiac death or a COVID-19 death. But these were decisions that we had to make. The decisions were made by medical personnel.” More
But how are heart surgeries considered elective?
— Kosta Calliagas (@PhillyGreek11) May 5, 2020
Will these deaths be classified as “coronavirus related?” Socialized Medicine is deadly incompetent? Who could have possibly known?
What did they think was going to happen. No reason to put these surgeries off. In US recent data indicate as many as 600K cancers have been missed due to delayed screening “elective procedures”. Cancer treatments delayed. Trading one life for another? https://t.co/j7qq8StJAU
— Mean Wee Old Woman Deb (@mddebm) May 5, 2020
Certainly was forseeable.
— Aaron (@AFletcherLaw) May 5, 2020
Socialized medicine. Corona or no…this is socialized medicine.
— Julia Burrell (@republiclvr) May 5, 2020
Elon Musk Pushes Reopening: ‘FREE AMERICA NOW’
Elon Musk is urging states across the country to put an end to lockdowns aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In a series of tweets, Musk posted phrases like “FREE AMERICA NOW” and “Give people their freedom back” in response to the lockdowns, which have been in place throughout much of the country amid the pandemic.
Give people their freedom back! https://t.co/iG8OYGaVZ0
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
On Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk urged governors across the nation to start opening up the economy to “free America now.”
In a series of recent tweets, Musk appeared to question the effectiveness of lockdowns, applauded Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas for announcing a large economic re-opening come Friday, and bluntly stated in all caps: “FREE AMERICA NOW.”
“Give people their freedom back!” Musk captioned a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives? In Most Places, the Data Say No.” The piece argued, “The speed with which officials shuttered the economy appears not to be a factor in Covid deaths.” More
“Bravo Texas!” the 48-year-old captioned a post from the Texas Tribune, titled, “Texas restaurants, retailers and other businesses can reopen Friday. Here’s the rules they have to follow.”
“Parties of six or less, disposable menus and limited capacity are among the new rules businesses will follow if they open this Friday,” the piece outlined.
Bravo Texas! https://t.co/cVkDewRqGv
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
FREE AMERICA NOW
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
Interesting … https://t.co/z8sqqPt48q
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2020
YouTube removed this Video:
Docs make good points https://t.co/WeXuZpMghY
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2020
Partial list of hospitals to which Tesla sent ventilators pic.twitter.com/sfI6yuUbrM
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 16, 2020
— PotbunnyC8 ~ I BELIEVE TARA READE ~ #sloppyjoe (@PotbunnyC8) April 29, 2020
I might move there tbh.
The only state that knows what is up
— Joey Saladino (@JoeySalads) April 29, 2020
The idiots came out in force:
Good luck to all the people who will die in Texas.
— Dan Kaplan (@dakappy) April 29, 2020
Science is against you. https://t.co/SIIs97kJFj
— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) April 29, 2020
Wtf, dude, you’re supposed to be a genius?
— Secure This World (@securethisworld) April 29, 2020
— #RIPGOP ™ (@_ReaalAmerican_) April 29, 2020
OUTRAGEOUS! NY Refused To Send Nursing Home’s COVID-19 Patients To Nearly Empty USNS Comfort
A Brooklyn nursing home where 55 elderly people have died from Coronavirus begged New York health officials to move its sick residents to the Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort but was denied.
‘I was told those facilities were only for hospitals’ Tuchman told the New York Post. Now the 360-bed nursing home is topping the nation’s list of nursing home deaths.
New York refused to send nursing home's COVID-19 patients to nearly empty USNS Comfort https://t.co/b0vVJrsXPX
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) April 25, 2020
New York health officials were warned in writing that a Brooklyn nursing home where 55 patients have died of coronavirus was overwhelmed — weeks before it began topping the state’s official list of resident COVID-19 deaths, damning emails show.
Cobble Hill Health Center CEO Donny Tuchman sent a desperate email to state Health Department officials on April 9, asking if there was “a way for us to send our suspected covid patients” to the hospital built inside the Javits Convention Center or the US Naval hospital ship Comfort — the under-utilized federal medical facilities on Manhattan’s West Side.
“We don’t have the ability to cohort right now based on staffing and we really want to protect our other patients,” Tuchman wrote in a chain of the emails reviewed by The Post.
He was denied.
“I was told those facilities were only for hospitals” to send their overflow patients, Tuchman said.
At the time Tuchman sent his plea, only 134 of the 1,000 beds at the Javits Center were full and the Comfort — which had just been reconfigured to treat up to 500 COVID-19 patients — had a mere 62 on board.
Adding insult to injury, the Navy hospital ship wound up treating just 179 patients before Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday said it was no longer needed. More
This is homicide. The loved ones of these patients should do something through the courts. Heartbreaking.
— Diane Loyd (@DianeLoyd5) April 25, 2020
New York forced nursing homes to take Coronavirus patients. Thereby putting at risk the most vulnerable population. Instead of sending them to available isolation sites. This was an intentional decision. There is no way anyone can make the decision to send infected patients to mingle with uninfected and not know the inevitable results.
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