Governor Continues to Demand Access to VA Patient Records

Apr 10, 2014

Credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr

State health care regulators showed up unannounced for a third time at a Veterans Administration Hospital in Florida and asked to view patient records. That visit to James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa appears to be part of a tug-of-war between Gov. Rick Scott and federal VA hospitals.

The governor ordered state inspectors to review VA hospital records and conditions after a national investigation indicated 3 patients died and several were injured because of delayed treatment in the VA region that includes Florida.

None of those deaths occurred at Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg or James A. Haley VA in Tampa. And state health regulators were advised that federal law prohibits sharing VA patient records.

Yet state inspectors showed up at Bay Pines Tuesday and at Haley Wednesday according to Karen Collins – public information officer with the Haley.

"They asked to inspect our records and we’re working with them taking their concerns", said Collins. "Basically VA is dealing with it on a regional and national level."

Collins says the VA has offered to meet with the governor and state regulators.

However, the Agency of Health Care Administration did not acknowledge the VA’s invitation. Instead – it sent out a press release within hours detailing how inspectors arrived at Haley Veterans Hospital at 9:41 and left at 10:02 am “after being declined the opportunity to review any processes.”