‘I knew something was not right’: Mass cancellations of diagnostic test orders at VA hospitals draw scrutiny
Oct. 1, 2018
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Radiology technologist Jeff Dettbarn said he knew something was wrong at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, when a patient arrived in February 2017 for a CT scan, but the doctor’s order for it had been cancelled.
“To have a patient show up for a scan and not have an order – you’re like, ‘What the heck is going on?’” he told USA TODAY in an interview.
Dettbarn started collecting cancellation notices for diagnostic procedures such as CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds.
“I knew something was not right,” he said. “Because none of them were cancelled by a physician.”
Cancellations of more than 250,000 radiology orders at VA hospitals across the country since 2016 have raised questions about whether – in a rush to clear out outdated and duplicative diagnostic orders – some facilities failed to follow correct procedures. At issue is a concern over whether some medically necessary orders for CT scans and other imaging tests were cancelled improperly.
The VA inspector general is now auditing mass cancellations at eight VA medical centers “to determine whether VA processed radiology requests in a timely manner and appropriately managed canceled requests,” VA Inspector General Michael Missal said.
Those hospitals are in Tampa and Bay Pines, Florida; Salisbury, North Carolina; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Las Vegas; and Los Angeles.
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