A lawsuit accusing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of failing to pay overtime to nurse practitioners and physician assistants since December of 2006 has been certified as a class action, according to a web post by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing. The certification is listed as an opt-in class, opening the door for more plaintiffs.
Class representatives Stephanie Mercier, Audricia Brooks, Deborah Plageman, Jennifer Allred and Michele Gavin brought the lawsuit on behalf of nurse practitioners and physician assistants from VA facilities across the country. Attorneys estimate as many as 10,000 VA employees nationwide ultimately could be represented in the class action.
According to the lawsuit, nurse practitioners and physician assistants were required to process electronic and computer patient records after work hours using VA facility computers, laptops and sometimes their own personal home computers without compensation. The work is vital to the treatment of patients and is considered mandatory by VA supervisors.
Provost Umphrey attorneys Michael Hamilton of the firm’s Nashville office and Guy Fisher in the Beaumont, Texas, office are among the attorneys working on the lawsuit along with counsel David Cook and Clement Tsao of Cincinnati’s Cook & Logothetis, LLC, Douglas Richards of Lexington, Kentucky and Robert Stropp of Mooney Green, P.C. in Washington, D.C.
“These are medical professionals who are taking care of our veterans,” said Hamilton. “If we aren’t paying them properly, what sort of statement does that make about the importance of caring for those who watched over us and our rights?”
“Ultimately, it’s about patient care,” said Cook. “We need to do our utmost for those who have put on the uniform and defended our rights. And, we can start by properly paying the medical professionals who care for them when they need it.”