Audit: 2,300 VA Patients In Iowa, SD Were On ‘Ghost Panels’


A report says 2,300 patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals in Iowa and South Dakota were assigned to “ghost panels,” or primary care doctors who no longer worked there.

Critics say the practice is a way some VA hospitals have made caseloads appear artificially small. It can be disruptive for patients, who have to see different doctors if they need care and may face longer wait times.

Federal auditors investigated the use of ghost panels at the request of Rep. Timothy Walz of Minnesota. A report issued Thursday found two panels at the Iowa City VA and two at the Black Hills VA.

The report says the practice violates department policy, which requires patients to be reassigned when doctors leave employment. But it found no evidence that patients were negatively affected.

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