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Monday, July 19, 2010

Chacko Update

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers, for only $3.95, in which I dedicate chapter four entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

The radiology website Aunt Minnie has a piece on Dr. Anna Chacko. (you may need to create user id to read the article)

Incidentally, Congressman Joe Sestak has introduced the Transparency for America's Heroes Act, HR 3843, and in the text of the bill is this,

Until March of 2010, Dr. Pamela Gray was a rheumatologist at the Hampton VAMC. It is her contention that she was subsequently terminated as a VA employee as a result of her actions to stop the over-prescription of Schedule II narcotics. Dr. Gray joins Dr. Anna Chacko formerly of the Pittsburgh VAMC and Dr. Robert Van Boven formerly of the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System in alleging retaliation for exposing practices they believed negatively affected patient care. I respect the fact that these physicians put their careers and reputations at risk to advance the treatment of our Veterans.

There's no response yet from Congressman Sestak's office about Dr. Chacko's inclusion in the text of the bill. I don't know if Congressman Sestak read my dossier on her before declaring her a hero but here it is anyway
Finally, Dr. Chacko seems to have a liberal interpretation of our first conversation. In the piece, it's described this way.

The next day she received a phone call from Michael Volpe, a blogger with a self-styled government watchdog website on called TheProvocateur, who said he was writing an article on Chacko. Chacko spoke with him briefly, but she claims she was shocked when his article appeared, entitled "Clout: Congressman Brad Miller, General Shinseki, and the Pittsburgh VA ."

In her memo, she described the conversation this way.

On September 2nd, a blogger (Michael Volpe) called me at my office and told me that he would be writing up slanderous and very injurious articles about me on the Internet. Since I did not know Mr. Volpe personally, I asked him what his sources of information would be. He claimed and subsequently has stated on his blog that his sources of information would be the VA.

So, to one source she describes the conversation as brief and vague and to another source she claims that I said the piece would be "slanderous." Here's the piece in question.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Volpe- It appears that you are being used to retailiate against Dr. Chacko by the Pittsburgh VA. I am not saying she is a saint, quite the contrary, she sounds like a nut case and a terror. But she appears to have legitimate complaints and definitely, the people at the Pittsburgh VA are also known to be criminal types-otherwise why would Sestak write a bill to increase transparency and cite Chacko (Sestak is no dummy- Phd Harvard). So why do you choose to attach Chacko without looking at the other side equally? It is apparent that there are some Congresspeople who see her as the real thing, a whistleblower, they cannot be totally stupid,or perhaps they are so used to seeing corruption and retailation against VA workers that they blindly believe her. Who knows. Hopefully you can find out- Also read Veteran Watchdog and see how the VA is really run- Gulag style. It would be interesting to find out how you obtained a copy of her email without her or the receiving parties approval, again somebody stirring the pot with possible illegal activity. Interesting indeed- I look forward to reading your book, with perhaps information and elaboration on whether she did indeed have any legitimate complaints against the Adminstrators at the Pittsburgh VA and who your sources are.

mike volpe said...

Don't worry about me. I'm not being used by anyone and I've spoken with people both inside and outside the Pitt VA. So, either hundreds of doctors all over the country THAT DON'T KNOW EACH OTHER are all lying or the real problem is Dr. Chacko.

xformed said...

"Gulag Style?" As a "user" of the system, though I will admit I don't have serious medical issues, I haven't seen anything that would make me think there are such conditions.

As for RDML Sestak (not a mistake there...he didn't retire as a 3 star - not long enough in grade to do so, even though he keeps claiming VADM), he's no dummy, but he's got quite a reputation of his own (do some searches, plenty written by those who worked for/around him while in uniform).

Mike has a point, not to be named person. If many, all over, have seen her abusing the system, maybe she's not the voice to be listened to, in case she's out there still grinding an ax, and not doing this out of the goodness of her heart to save vets.

If her antics reported are any indication of who she serves, it certainly isn't the best interests of keeping costs down for the VA, which would make her the anti-hero in this case.

Anonymous said...

As one of the folks who have had some level of involvement in connecting Mike with the truth, I can tell each of you unequivocally that he has truly nailed Dr. Chacko's dossier. The VA is but one stop on her road of entanglement. Her antics along the way are not those of a medical doctor but rather a classic narcissist who happens to somehow have obtained and retained a medical degree. There are dozens of others who have been shell-shocked by Chacko both in the medical as well as private sector.

I would implore Anna Chacko, whom I know is reading this along with hoards of others, to reconize that her reign of terror must end here. There is an entirely new dynamic that awaits her should she decide to re-emerge. There is evidence, hard factual evidence that will find its way to the surface like a bolus of Gulf coast BP crude if she accepts or creates a position in the US where a single person reports to her. Give up Anna, it's over.

mike volpe said...

That's the contact information for Congressman Sestak's office. Also, his Senatorial opponent, Pat Toomey, may also want to hear from you.

Let your feelings be known to both of them as well.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, it will be our Veterans, old and new, who will suffer if legitimate concerns aren't investigated. In the VA system there IS abuse of funds, wasteful decisions being made, bad doctors with their own agendas, lazy employees, the good old boy system is also alive and well, bad policies, or ignored policies, bad employee training programs etc. but there are also great doctors, great employees who deeply care about their patients and people who see the problems every day but can't and don't do anything about them. Is there retailiation? Whether these whistleblowers have their own agendas or are nut cases at least it's gotten someones attention in Washington and SOMEONE who can make a difference SHOULD investigate the VA system, ALL their hospitals, clinics etc. and not with the stupid little surveys they send out. Not an easy job, I realize, but someone needs to start thinking about Our Verterans. If something is broken how can it get fixed if no one knows about it. Maybe that's what these doctors where trying to do, fix the problems.

Anonymous said...

Mike- Reading some of Chacko's statement regarding her timeline- these two things jump out.
1) She had an EEO that she settled on 9/1/09 through ADR.
2) Mike Volpe calls the following day.
3) One day later- Her supervisors inform her that she has had complaints about her and will perform a second ABI-

Totally makes sense now, while they were negotiating for her to settle her EEO,and totally settle and have no claims against them; they were simultaneously gathering retalitory information to use against her. They had to get rid of her once she filed an EEO- VA policy. This may also have been handled from CO, and yes it involved reistating her to have her drop her discrimination claims.

They were also able to somehow get you to investigate and blog about her- Brilliant- real pros. She however, is also a pro- so the VA has their work cut out for them in court. Always follow the Money.

mike volpe said...

Yes, and then they got people from Seattle, Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago, Butte, Connecticut, and New Mexico to all speak to me fill me with stories of blackmail, bribes, intimidation, and kick backs, and all these people appeared to be doing this spontaneously when in reality it was a conspiracy to smear Chacko. Yes, that's it.

This isn't my first rodeo. People like you always show up. It's all nonsense.

FBI said...

Keep the entertainment go on
while Moreland is forced to taking early retirement, Mona Melhem is forced to step down from ACOS and Jain is detailed against his wishes in DC. You follow the money{hope you are getting paid from one of the above}, she follows the money, the above members are following the money, the veterans suffer and the truth is lost. For some of us who witness this daily at VA, it is just an entertainment played by some educated fools called Radiologists, Pathologists, investigative journOlists and of course the dietitians at VAPHS.

Shame to all of the above for bragging how rightful they are while ignoring the plight of the veterans. Watch Veterans watchdog for more entertainement and 60 minutes!!!

mike volpe said...

Let's have some entertainment. Why don't we not even talk about the Pitt VA. After all, Dr. Chacko has only worked there for a year. Why don't we talk about the fact that Dr. Chacko has worked in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Butte all since 2006. Is that normal for someone in their 60's?

Let's talk about the fact that Dr. Chacko replaced three radiologists that put in more than 70 years of service to St. James, quit a year later, and took all the radiologists with her. Let's talk about the fact that no less than four lawsuits were filed during her time at St. James. Let's also talk about the fact that radiology went from seven figures in the black to seven figures in the red during her time there.

FBI said...

Alright Mike, let us debate. Why would a hospital get rid of three radiologists with 70 plus yrs experience and Hire AC? Why do you think MM hired AC ? A common answer is they{Butte CEO and MM} wanted someone gutsy to get rid of people they did not like. It is well known fact that ACOS wanted to get rid of a certain nuclear medicine doctor at VA who has worked for more than 30 years at VAPHS. Since you have many sources at VA, please find out the NAME of this doctor who took retirement recently and hear his story. What was the purpose of hiring five doctors for one branch of radiology called Nuclear medicine unless the motive is to get rid of someone there. It is a pathetic behavior. Both VAPHS and Butte were looking for a terminator and AC fit the requirements. Looks like from what was published in your blog, she refused to play by their book and the rest is history. Since you have raised the issue of three positions
held by AC in four years, May I inform you that there were five chairmen in radiology at VAPHS under MM in the last five years. The reason is none of them wanted to dance to MM and her side kick dietitians who are radiology managers.{contrary to your prior statement, these are neither MBA trained professional money managers nor radiology experts but handpicked dietitians by MM to do the dirty work}
Most VA centers have local universities provide radiology services at VA. Do you know both Universities in Pittsburgh refuse to be part of VAPHS because of it's management? May be you should pick your next story on VAPHS radiology and speak with all ex chairmen of radiology department in confidence. With AC story you can only sell one book vs five if you write about radiology departement under ACOS. Once again I would reiterate the veterans suffered from all these actions. I wish you would devote time on veterans behalf fighting for their cause and get rid of 21 st century carpetbaggers at VA.

You are concerned about the seven figure red and black fin results of a private Butte enterprise. Would you believe the money wasted at VAPHS in radiology department alone is more than 10 million dollars from useless equipment purchases and reconstruction. This is tax payor's money which could help hundreds of veterans who come to VA and the unfortunate veterans living under the bridges of Pittsburgh. The argument that it is government's money and "if you do not spend it,you lose it" is simply assinine and nauseating philosophy. God bless the veterans for putting up with such behavior by the elite at VA.

Watch 60 minutes when the script is ready.

mike volpe said...

Stay with me and don't talk about the Pitt VA.

Why would they fire three radiologists with 70 years of service between them to bring AKC in? These three only had hospital privileges. They had their own businesses and didn't cost the hospital anything. AKC, on the other hand, demanded a salary and then 14 months later she took off and took all the radiologists with her.

There were no less than four lawsuits involving AKC during her fourteen months at St. James, including two regarding the firing of the three radiologists.

You insist on impugning the VA system but St. James isn't a VA hospital. That hospital went from a radiology dept. seven figures in the black to the red during AKC's tenure. There's four lawsuits during her tenure and she only lasted fourteen months. Can you explain that?

FBI said...

it is obvious from your blogs. Three of the lswsuits appear to be from displaced radiologists and a displaced manager. I can't help you with the other. Did you ever realize your informants could be coming from those who are displaced or threatened and some of the information is fiction for selfish reasons?

Seven figure loss from radiology is no big deal if you understand radiology is second to cardiac services for any hospital revenue. I suspect based on info you provided, the Butte administration has pissed off the long standing radiologists and their loyal ordering physicians sent patients somewhere else. Please go to a local hospital in Chicago and ask them about what happens if they piss off a group providing service for more than 30 yrs?

Why don't you answer about Pitt VA elite who fed you some of the nonsense published in your blog? Is there a gag order or do you feel you were let down by the elite at Pitt VA? I still wish you will speak to the retired radiologist at VA Pittsburgh to really get some truth you were trying to find.

mike volpe said...

The four lawsuits include one from the two radiologists fired immediately, one from Dr. Cole after Dr. Chacko accused him of threatening her, one from radiology manager Kristi George, and one from her former Secretary Linda Murphy. Then, there's the lawsuit that Chacko filed against St. James after she left. She filed similar lawsuits against lahey and the BUMC, and there's one against the Pitt VA. That's an awful lot of lawsuits and most have nothing to do with the VA system.

The accusations against the VA are a smoke screen. They are designed to take everyone's attention away from Chacko's behavior.

Anonymous said...

FBI: are you the FBI assigned to the VA or did you get this title from your prior employemnt? We all know who you are. The stories of your ego and bitterness are well known not only in the VA but also to your former employers in the PA.

You are berating the physicians and technicians who provide excellent patient care at the VAPHS. If you really care about the veterans as you say you should berate Chacko and her cronies for playing with Veteran's lives due to their incompetence and perpetrating abuse and fraud in the VA.

She is so worried about Radiation exposure due to Thallium which is an issue entirely made up in her head. Is it not true that she wanted to build a technitium reactor in partnership with GE and sell it to the VA to make millions?She wanted to spend millions of VA Dollars to buy GE euipment which was a total and usless waste! Did she even know what they were for or how they are used?
I will give her this: She is a great speaker and a compulsive liar and can fool anyone till they realize her true nature.

Anonymous said...

Reply to your comments:
1. One ex chief of radiology testified against Chacko
2. Another ex chief of Radiology wants nothing to do with Chacko and has tried his best to dissociate himself from her.
3. The other Chief of Radiology wants to come back to the VA.He refused to do Chacko's bidding against the VA.
4. The nuclear medicine physician left because he wanted to get his retirement at the VA and had the opportunity to work someplace else with a better pay. He was sick of the unstablility that Chacko created and took the opportunity.

FBI said...

Here we go again. Chacko is history so the chapter is over. Regarding the radiologists you mentioned, your perception is different from mine. 14 radiologists at VA and no one wants to take the position because they know the stupidity which goes on under your leadership. FYI, The other radiologist who wants to come back is doing so because you are no longer in charge of the place!!!. DO YOU GET IT? Let us not go into other radiologists you mentioned. What they tell you over your face is to avoid lsoing better opportunities or VISAs. Anonymous, Why don't you admit the errors made by you over last two yrs and that you have not done your job diligently. As per your comment, about physicians and technologists, Other than the involved pathologists and radiologists I have not made a negative comment about VAPHS and its staff. I do not consider dietitians as technologists and IMHO belong to the kitchens with chickens not xray departments. I only lament about the bad outcome for the veterans due to few Elite personnel at VAPHS who have made the entire VA system look bad because they got into a pissing contest and wanted to prove how bad is AC and ignored their own faults. I have not defended AC in any of my comments other than give a different perspective of what went on and what is going on. Why don't you please see that veterans get MRI within few days of ordering for a change? You purchased three MRI units and have two MRI radiologists, Do you not ? Want a clue reg how to do it.. Get service contract, hire enough technologists and tell your sidekicks that patient care is a priority.
no more replies for your anonymous nonsense when you do not realize the damage you have caused and believe that you are an angel with no faults. Do you not have any shame for the unprofessional behavior which went on over last two years under your management?

EOM and no further comments to your anonymous pathological lies. So long Mike. it was indeed a good entertainement. Have a nice weekend. The bears are coming soon!!

mike volpe said...

Or maybe the Pitt VA is taking its time in choosing a replacement so they don't make the same mistake again. Since there's only 14 rads in the dept. there's no rush.

What's amusing is that two folks come to my site and post anonymously and both know who the other is.

Anonymous said...

Your are having a hard time keeping up with accurate information since your left. The current Chief does have a "VISA".
Ask your informants about accurate information about MRI scanners.

Anonymous said...

Actually FBI is wrong Mike because he does not know who I am.