Henderson v. Department of Veterans Affairs, No. 17-1071 (Fed. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Henderson was a VA Program Analyst. Veterans may, under certain circumstances, obtain medical care from private physicians and facilities after obtaining preauthorization from a VA supervisory physician. An “unresolved authorized consult” means that a veteran’s medical appointment with an outside provider has not been scheduled or completed, or the completed appointment has not been memorialized. Henderson was charged with 50 counts of making false statements related to health care matters, 18 U.S.C. 1035, for ordering VA employees under his direction to close 2700 unresolved authorized consults by falsely declaring the consults were completed or refused by the patients. The VA informed Henderson that it proposed to suspend him for an indefinite period, noting that if convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count. Henderson, through counsel, denied the allegations, requested documentary evidence from the VA regarding his alleged wrongdoing, and asked that the proposed suspension be stayed pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings. The VA indefinitely suspended Henderson. A Merit Systems Protection Board administrative judge found, and the Board, and Federal Circuit affirmed, that the indictment provided the VA with reasonable cause to believe that he had committed a crime for which imprisonment could be imposed. The VA established a nexus between the criminal charges and the efficiency of the service.