VA Under Investigation For Whistleblower Retaliation
The hit parade keeps coming
(Wall Street Journal) A federal watchdog is investigating allegations of dozens of complaints of backlash against whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a release Thursday.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal body that protects government employees from improper employment practices, including backlash against whistleblowers, announced it is investigating 37 allegations of VA reprisal against whistleblowers in 19 states. The VA has been under scrutiny lately for delays in patient care, sparked in part by a retired whistleblower’s complaint. Not all 37 complaints are related to that issue, the office said.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in whistleblowing complaints for scheduling and health and safety issues at the VA generally,” said a spokesman for the Office of the Special Counsel. “They’re all related to patient safety, but not all have to do with appointment scheduling.”
It’s not 100% clear that the retaliation has occurred during Obama’s time in office, but would anyone be surprised by that type of action during the last 5 years, based on the conduct of Team Obama, which has gone to great pains to protect malfeasance within the various departments of the Executive Office, along with denigrating private citizens who dare to speak out against Obama and/or his policies? Most, if not all, seem to have occurred starting in 2013
(Military Times) Some of the cases under review by the office date back to 2013, but involve the same wait time and patient care issues for which VA officials recently have come under heavy fire.
That same article notes several cases where whistleblowers were suspended, including without pay, and poor performance evaluations.
CNN, which has done a pretty darned good job in covering the VA scandal story over the past year, notes that VA doctors were scared to be quoted, but wanted the story to get out. And also notes
All the doctors confirmed to us that VA officials had posted warnings in the hospital’s halls and elevators that no VA employees could speak with the media or divulge details of what went on inside the hospital. The warnings, the doctors said, included details about laws that could be violated and penalties that employees could face, including financial reparations and even jail time, if they were to speak out publicly, and if the hospital suffered financial losses as a result.
Hell of a system you have there, Barack.
Meanwhile, the acting VA Secretary has stated that 18 vets who were on the waiting lists died at the Phoenix facility. And Senator Roy Blunt has confirmed that the Kansas City, Missouri facility also had secret waiting lists. It’s not as bad as the Wichita facility, but just adds to the notion of a systematic issue throughout the VA.
Also, “Jeffrey Murawsky, health care chief for the VA’s Chicago-based regional office, was nominated last month to be the department’s new undersecretary for health care”, has withdrown his nomination, claiming he feared a prolonged fight over the nomination. Gee, what could give him that notion? Could it be that “seven VA hospitals and 30 clinics in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan, including one in suburban Chicago where there are allegations that its staff used secret lists to conceal long patient wait times for appointments”? I guess he didn’t want to be questioned about why that happened under his leadership.