CBS46 investigation finds VA pharmacy isn’t properly filling vet’s medical prescriptions

WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

http://www.wtvm.com/story/38769779/cbs46-investigation-finds-va-pharmacy-isnt-properly-filling-vets-medical-prescriptions

ATLANTA (CBS46) –

CBS46 reporter Natalie Rubino is spearheading an in-depth investigation.  

It centers on the VA Pharmacy in Decatur and accusations it failed to properly fill prescriptions for a veteran in constant pain.

James Yarbrough is on several different medications to manage his pain. We investigated his claims for three months.  The documents show Yarbrough sometimes receives his meds from the VA Pharmacy late or he’s given the wrong prescription. This has all caused even more pain and has taken an emotional toll on Yarbrough. Right now he doesn’t see an end in sight.

Yarbrough enlisted in the Air Force in the 90s. 

“I was at my duty station at Tyndall Air Force base in Panama City, Florida. I got into a bad car wreck and I also hurt my back loading an A-9,” Yarbrough told Rubino.

Most of the pain is in Yarbrough’s neck and back.

“I’ve got three blown disks, at T-8, T-9 in the center of my back. I got peripheral nephropathy down both of my my legs and yesterday I just got nerve burns, they hit four in my leg,” he said of his condition.

Dr. David Rosenfeld of Alliance Spine and Pain helps manage the veteran’s pain.

“He’s on a medication called Gabapentin which is used to stabilize nerves. He also uses a little bit of opioid and then probably most notably he has what’s called an intrathecal drug reservoir. So, he’s got a pump that delivers pain medication around the clock into his spinal fluid,” Rosenfeld said.

For years those medications have been crucial to Yarbrough getting through every day life.

Until last October, when the VA suddenly failed to fill some of the veteran’s life saving prescriptions.

“This is neglect. And it’s the pure definition of abuse,” Yarbrough said.

A freedom of information act request filed by CBS46 shows that the Atlanta VA Pharmacy mailed Yarbrough’s meds to the wrong veteran instead of to Yarbrough’s father’s home as instructed.

“I started calling and calling because I did not get that medication.”

Yarbrough corrected his address with the VA and filed a HIPPA violation against the pharmacy. But since then it’s only gotten worse.

“My doctor faxes it in. Then I have to call the pharmacy. They say we didn’t get it. I have to call the doctor again and say, ‘did you get a fax receipt?’ He says, ‘yes.’ I say can you fax it again and then I have to call everybody, anybody and everybody.”

Yarbrough says this happens every month.

According to the documents CBS46 obtained, some months the VA fails to fill certain prescriptions, other months, the meds arrive far too late.

“When they did send the medications, they’d send it so far out I’d have to withdraw off of it,” Yarbrough said.

But that’s not all.

Yarbrough has an internal pump that can dispense Narcan in the case of an overdose.

“[This is post marked] April 17th, 2018. I was supposed to have this by January.”

Our Freedom of Information Act request revealed that in April of 2018 the V.A mailed Yarbrough his Narcan not only four months late but it was only a fraction of his prescribed dose and it had expired 6 months prior.

It took over a month for the VA to fulfill CBS46’s request for the documents.  When we did receive them, an entire page was redacted. Raising the question, what is the VA holding back?

A spokesperson for the VA tells CBS46 the redacted information is protecting the VA employees involved.

Yarbrough says he feels retaliated against.

“I do sometimes feel what did I do wrong? What have I done?”

He says he doesn’t know how much longer he can take the pain.

“The end all could’ve been death and it still can be if they continue down the road they’ve taken,” Yarbrough said.

CBS46 made multiple requests to interview the director of the Atlanta VA and the director of VA Pharmacy about Yarbrough’s case. We were denied each time.

2 Responses

  1. Couldn’t he take legal action? This is obviously absurd and so so wrong, but they also have proof..

  2. What is wrong with transparence here?? Were those employees reprimanded, the ones who were “protected” by the redacted documents?? WHAT IS IT THEY ARE HIDING??? Sick and disgusting…

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