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Seven Things To Know When You Receive A Notice Of Investigation From The Department Of Health

Are You a VA Physician Notified of Possible NPDB Report–What To Do

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

When there is a Federal Tort Claim filed against the Veterans Administration (VA) on behalf of a patient, the physiciansnurse practitioners, mental health counselors and other health professionals involved in the care will usually be asked for a statement regarding their role in the care. Be sure to carefully review what has been alleged and d any records you obtain and provide a careful, concise and objective summary of your care.

This is usually the first notice that the VA or ex-VA health professional will have that his or her4 care may be in question.  It is also a good opportunity for you to consult with an experienced health law attorney to help you formulate your response.  Your response may be crucial in the VA’s decision on what to do in the case.

Later, if the VA (or U.S. Attorney) decides to pay the claim (which may be done for strictly political, risk avoidance or business reasons), the VA is required to decide which of all of the physicians and health professionals involved in the case must receive a report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) against them.

If this occurs, you will be sent a letter from the VA. The letter will advise you that a Federal Tort Claim has been paid, the VA is going to decide who to report to the NPDB as causing the payment to be made, and that you have the opportunity to provide a statement why it should not be you.  This is definitely something you should not ignore.  At this point, you really need the help of an experienced health law attorney familiar with both VA and NPDB procedures.

Obtain as much information on the case as you can and request a copy of the relevant medical records so that you may review them.  But obtain an experienced attorney to assist you.

12 Rules You Must Follow in Your Response:

Your statement should be professionally prepared, on your own letterhead with your contact information at the top, properly addressed to the person, title and office that sent you the request, and include the following:

1.    Use a reference (“Re:”) line similar to the one on the letter you were sent.

2.    Provide the details of your care in a succinct, logical manner, usually chronologically.

3.    Spell out all abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them (remember, this will probably be reviewed by individuals outside your specialty or who are not health professionals).

4.    Be sure to use short, concise paragraphs and skip a full line between each paragraph.

5.    Explain any unusual procedures.

6.    If systems errors such as equipment failure, lack of certain medical equipment or supplies, or similar problems contributed to the outcome, detail these.

7.    Be objective, use objective terms and do not come across as being defensive.

8.    Do not blame others;  this is about your care.

9.    If you are aware of any authoritative medical journal articles or texts that support you care, you should mention them and give a complete formal citation to the article.

10.    Make sure your letter is well-organized and easy to read and understand.

11.    Make sure your response does not contain any grammatical errors, spelling errors or typographical errors.  You check it carefully, but then also have someone else check it carefully, as well.

12.    Make sure it is signed and dated.

If you follow these rules, hopefully you will receive a response from the VA similar to the following one, advising you that you are not being reported to the NPDB.


Your Career May Depend On Having Legal Counsel Who Understands the NPDB.

If you have received a negative National Practitioner Data Bank report and wish to appeal it, contact The Health Law Firm. Our attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals in disputing and appealing NPDB reports. To learn more, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late, Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm attorneys routinely represent VA physicians, physician assistants (PAs), nurses, nurse practitioners (NPs), dentists and other health professionals in dealing with reports being made to the NPDB, disputing NPDB reports and appealing NPDB reports, hospital clinical privileges hearings, medical staff fair hearings, medical staff peer reviews. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

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