Officials: VA hospital intentionally skewed patient data

Officials say a West Virginia Veterans Affairs medical center intentionally skewed patient data to reduce both the reported wait times and the volume of patients.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in a news release last week that a whistleblower prompted the investigation of the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. Officials say that over the last seven years, a manager at the facility urged nursing staff to place emergency patients into two unofficial clinics rather than record the encounter. The decision, among other things, caused an inaccurate analysis of staff workload.

Officials say the VA also improperly coded patient encounters for medical purposes and charged 602 veterans an incorrect copayment.

The medical center's spokesman, Wesley Walls, says the skewing only affected the Clarksburg facility.