VA Whistleblowers Testify About Retaliation
An independent federal agency is investigating 67 active complaints of employee retaliation at VA health facilities in 28 states, according to testimony before a House panel Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal: Agency Examines 67 Claims Of Retaliation Against VA Whistleblowers
An independent federal investigative agency is pursuing 67 active complaints about VA health facilities from employees, according to testimony given at a House panel Tuesday evening. Special counsel Carolyn Lerner said the complaints have come from 28 states and 45 separate facilities, including 25 complaints filed since June 1 (Schwartz, 7/8).
The Associated Press: Retaliation Complaints Jump At Veterans Affairs, Watchdog Says
A federal investigative agency is examining 67 claims of retaliation by Veterans Affairs Department supervisors against employees who filed whistleblower complaints, including 25 complaints filed since June 1, amid a growing health care scandal involving long patient waits and falsified records at VA hospitals. The independent Office of Special Counsel said that 30 of the complaints about retaliation have passed the initial review stage and were being investigated further for corrective action and possible discipline against VA supervisors and other executives. The complaints were filed in 28 states at 45 separate facilities, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner told the House Veterans Affairs Committee (7/9).
USA Today: VA Whistle-Blowers Take Turn Ripping Agency
Department of Veterans Affairs whistle-blowers took turns ripping their own agency during a congressional hearing Tuesday, not only for failing America's veterans and falsifying appointment records, but for retaliating against employees who try to expose safety and ethics violations. Among those testifying before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs was Dr. Katherine Mitchell, a physician at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, who told the committee some patients died because of medical-care breakdowns. By trying to stand up for veterans, Mitchell added, she became the target of sham investigations, smear campaigns, job transfers and other reprisals (Wagner, 7/9).
Politico: Lawmakers Laud VA Whistleblowers
House lawmakers charged Tuesday that a culture of corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs allowed the agency to freely retaliate against whistleblowers. At a hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, lawmakers peppered four federal whistleblowers on ways to fix the VA’s reputation of acting against employees who raise concerns about health care quality or fraud and said the VA needed a broad cultural change (French, 7/8).
Fox News: Whistleblowers Describe VA Culture Of Retaliation To Lawmakers At Hearing
Four VA whistleblowers told House lawmakers in a hearing Tuesday night that they were harassed, were placed on leave and encountered other forms of retaliation when they attempted to report wrongdoing in the agency. Their testimony came as a federal investigative agency said it was examining 67 claims of retaliation by supervisors at the department against employees who filed whistleblower complaints -- including 25 complaints filed since June 1 -- after a growing health care scandal involving long patient waits and falsified records became public (7/9).
The Associated Press: VA Apologizes To Whistleblowers Facing Retaliation
A top official at the Veterans Affairs Department says he is sorry that VA employees have suffered retaliation after making complaints about poor patient care, long wait times and other problems. James Tuchschmidt, the No. 2 official at the Veterans Health Administration, the VA's health care arm, apologized on behalf of the department at a congressional hearing Tuesday night. "I apologize to everyone whose voice has been stifled," Tuchschmidt said after listening to four VA employees testify for nearly three hours about VA actions to limit criticism and strike back against whistleblowers. "That's not what I stand for. I'm very disillusioned and sickened by all of this” (Daly, 7/9).