In a report that serves as a reminder of the need for active management of information agencies post online for public viewing, an IG report has found that lack of oversight allowed for inaccurate information on a VA site describing the qualifications of its doctors and other medical personnel.
Those inaccuracies were discovered and reported by news media and resulted in a number of members of Congress pressing for an explanation, the report added.
The IG said the Our Doctors site, which lists qualifications such as credentialing, clinical privileges and specialty certification, contained errors on about a fifth of those listed for six facilities reviewed. The most common error was board certifications that had expired since the most recent update of the website. “Board certifications are time-limited credentials, and there is no requirement for VHA providers to maintain them. Physicians may choose to maintain these credentials or allow them to lapse. This does not impact their qualifications to remain privileged at a VHA facility,” the IG added.
In some cases, the site showed certifications that the provider never held, which the auditors attributed to errors in the input process. They added that they did not find any providers who were working without a current state license or who listed a license or board certification they never obtained.
Errors occurred because the VA did not clearly define the processes for uploading information, did not required adequate validation prior to information being posted publicly, and did not define how often information should be updated, it said. Further, there was no oversight process at the facility, network or national levels said the report, which recommended changes in those areas that management agreed to.