Ex-workers: Hibbing VA clinic backdated records

Published 10:13 am Monday, November 17, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS — Ex-employees of a Veterans Affairs clinic in Hibbing said they were ordered to backdate records of medical appointments to make it appear the clinic was seeing veterans promptly when waits were as long as six to eight weeks, according to a report published Sunday.

Six former employees said they were told to falsify the records by Sterling Medical Associates, which runs the community clinic. They said backdating orders stopped only in late April after investigators found that the VA medical system was keeping secret waiting lists across the country. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was forced to resign over the revelations.

A former clerk at the Hibbing clinic, Bobbi Jo VonAlman, said she was ordered to change the schedule despite her protests.

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“You went back and remade the appointment to make it look like it was within 14 days,” she said. “They said there was nothing wrong with it. They just wanted to make their numbers look good.”

A VA inspector general investigation in June was unable to substantiate any allegations of past scheduling irregularities at the Hibbing clinic. Both Sterling and VA officials told the newspaper there’s no evidence of current tampering, and Sterling denies ever ordering any schedule falsifications.