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37 VA Whistle-Blowers Claim They Faced Retaliation

From Fox News:

Price of coming forward: 37 VA whistle-blowers claim retaliation

By Joshua Rhett Miller | June 06, 2014

… Dozens of Veterans Affairs workers who have come forward with stories of mismanagement and patient abuse say they have faced retaliation within the scandal-scarred agency, according to federal investigators.

In one case, a VA employee with a spotless record over two decades was suspended after reporting patients had been inappropriately restrained, according to one of 37 such complaints filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). In another case, an employee claimed to have been demoted after disclosing alleged mishandling of patient care funds. The employee was temporarily reassigned and an investigation is still ongoing, OSC officials said.

The complaints, which involved VA facilities in 19 states, appear to show a culture that discourages whistle-bowing [sic], said officials at the OSC, which is probing the claims.

“Receiving candid information about harmful practices from employees will be critical to the VA’s efforts to identify problems and find solutions,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in a statement Thursday. “However, employees will not come forward if they fear retaliation.”

Which could be the whole idea.

The OSC is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency that polices treatment of federal employees and job applicants, focusing specifically on enforcement of the Whistleblower Protection Act…

Joe Newman, spokesman of the Project on Government Oversight, an activist group that launched its own VA-related whistle-blower website last month, said it’s not surprising that bureaucrats are coming down on employees who come forward to help the agency reform. “That fear is pervasive,” Newman told FoxNews.com, adding that most sources do not wish to be identified. “But when there’s this much smoke, there’s often fire.”

As of Thursday, at least 640 submissions have been received by VAOversight.org since May 15, Newman said, with the majority of those coming from veterans themselves and relatives. Roughly 20 percent of those, he said, were from current and former VA employees who had valid gripes.

“So they can’t all be classified as whistle-blower submissions, but we’re in the process of investigating some of those claims,” Newman said. “We’re not looking to make quick media hits. Our main goal is to analyze the systemic problems and find what solutions we can come up with.”

In a third case involving yet another facility, a VA employee at another facility received a seven-day suspension after telling the inspector general’s office about improper scheduling and coding procedures…

If these claims are true, they might help explain how it took so long for this scandal to reach the public.

And it would also comport with our suspicions that the Obama administration wouldn’t want any of this to get out while they were busy trying to sell the country on Obama-Care.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “37 VA Whistle-Blowers Claim They Faced Retaliation”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Of course they did. Government is a mafia ..

  2. Mithrandir says:

    I have a non-scandal about the VA, but still interesting.

    A neighbor kid who was in Iraq went to the local VA at night with raging bronchitis, and the nurse turned him away claiming he would have to sit at the VA until morning to see a doctor, a wait of about 8 hours. He left and went to a private clinic informed that he would have to pay out of pocket for emergency care, and the VA would not be billed.

    After several days of suffering and trying to kick the infection himself, we offered to drive him back to the VA for care. He relented, and that nurse was not on duty, and he was given care within a few hours.

    He says the VA is usually pretty good about care, and the cost is cheap, but they screw up in all sorts of ways. They put the wrong medical documents in his dossier, they have turned him away for minor care, they have refused treatment for minor ailments, the wait for some care is MONTHS away, just to be scheduled for an MRI is 6-9 months not including time for doctors to read it and give treatment. They are quick to label you “crazy” if you have trouble adjusting to life outside a combat zone. The lines are far too long, and hospitals too few.

    I wish wealthy donors would stop giving money to children in foreign countries, and give it to our own VA hospitals and veterans who have actually suffered for our country. No kid in Somalia ever did anything for us, why help them?

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Simply throwing money at it will not solve the problem.

      The problems the VA has are the same problems that have infected our society since the end of WWII. It’s both simple and difficult to decipher but I’ll take a stab at it.

      People are people. From our first days as infants to our dying moment, we have the things that we like, dislike and our needs vs. those of others. Doctors and nurses supposedly go into their respected crafts under the premise that they’ll be helping others. Naturally, in our society, pay and benefits should reflect that and doctors and nurses should be “on-call” as that’s a necessary aspect of their profession.

      The same cannot be said for the bureaucrat who works in the VA; They have taken no Hippocratic oath and are there eight hours a day, five days a week and you cannot make them care no matter how much they get paid. It comes from within. Some care, I sure but many do not.

      Many came out of the military. In the USAF we called ’em “702’s” which is the first three digits of their AFSC or Air Force Specialty Code or job description. 702’s were admin-types. Desk-drivers, paper jockeys, etc. Many of them learned quickly that the path to promotion was determined by whose admin section you worked in. Office workers on the base knew who had the best/worst units and whose units could get them promoted faster or even those who had more prestige (ie: working in the Wing Commander’s office vs, just working at the base personnel office)

      Some merit was handy but largely it was more political than anything else…and quite sickening.

      So they get out of the military…and being the little socialists they often are, (not always but I’ve often said there are many socialists in the military because they like the structure, the absence of having to make decisions, even the having to choose what to wear that day is decided already) they go about their functionary duties and are really thinking about what they’re going to do this coming holiday weekend instead of your piddly-assed problem.

      They are like this because you are just a number to them, not a person and they have had no background in compassion or understanding in their entire life. You are a problem that stands in the way of their break-time and/or time away from their cubicle.

      No, they are not ALL that way. But there are more of them than we’d all care to admit and largely, it has to do with the way businesses operate these days. The interpersonal is minimized because it eliminates the complaint track. Using AT&T as an example, have you ever had to call them to complain? By going through their automated phone menu, and having to repeat yourself to a robot is so damned annoying as to probably result in your hanging up. It saves money for them and also keeps you from reaching anyone who can actually help or determine what the problem is.

      The money that is used in the VA is almost certainly directed in such a way as to not go anywhere near making the experience for the veteran any better. The human bureaucrat can come up with thousands of excuses why this is so but —- rather than more money spent on the VA, it has to do with personalities and desire to actually give a crap about what a person or persons is or are doing.

      My long-winded diatribe simply comes down to this: You can’t make people care. They either do or they do not. The VA needs to be dismantled and veterans can then get care at places where they are actually cared for and about. So many government functionaries that come from affirmative action requirements and other politically correct avenues has resulted in “dontgiveash*titis”. I am witness to this when the VA wanted to send me my insulin via the US MAIL to a place where the mailbox would be incredibly hot and the insulin would then be worthless by the time I received it.

      They assured me that they “do it all the time without any problems” and I protested. Then, I brought in the thousands of dollars worth of insulin they had just sent me that was all chunky and ruined and unusable. When I showed it to them, the FIRST words out of the bureaucrat’s mouth was “What did you do to it?”. It took every fiber of self-control to not throttle this know-nothing flunky. Even after explaining it to him he was still convinced that the methodology used in shipping it was sound. “Hey, man, it’s 115 degrees outside. My mailbox sits outside and like a lot of them, it’s black. So it’s probably 150 degrees at least in there…insulin goes bad above certain temperatures but you are convinced that mailing it to people is jut fine. I wonder how many people just take it anyway, not knowing any better.”

      An alternate method of receiving the insulin was decided upon—I soon found a new job and decided to avoid using the VA altogether.

      But it’s personalities more than money. People need to care. The VA has a bad habit of hiring the aforementioned AA candidates with substandard educations, personal problems, low IQ’s, lack of awareness and completely selfish mentalities.


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