Thursday, February 12, 2009

VA Identifies Problem with a Transcription Services Contract

VA Identifies Problem with a Transcription Services Contract

WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2009) - During a routine internal inspection, the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) discovered a contractor providing
medical transcription services who was not following the Department's
rules for protecting medical information.

Although there is no evidence that any patient information was disclosed
as a result of the violation, VA has suspended the contractor from
receiving any sensitive information from the Department until the
contractor guarantees compliance with VA's standards for information
technology (IT) security.

"VA insists that contractors, as well as our own personnel, adhere to
the highest standards for protecting personal information," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "When we detect a
problem, as happened in this case, we will quickly fix it, and we will
ensure such problems are not happening elsewhere."

The issue involves a contractor whose employees create written
transcripts of recordings made by health care professionals while
performing physical examinations, reporting on surgeries, and taking
patients' histories. VA officials found the contractor's employees used
computers that do not adhere to government policy on security.

Based on this incident, the Secretary has launched an intensive
examination of all VA's contracts to ensure all contractors properly
safeguard information about VA patients, Veterans and employees.

Secretary Shinseki appears to be a lot more forthcoming about problems within the VA system than all of his predecessors ever were. This is the second time in less than a week that the VA has admitted a problem and announced corrective action at the same time, I applaud and SALUTE him for this new era of transparency at the VA. This nations veterans deserve to be told the truth even when it's ugly. Thank you

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