The VA is looking into allegations that supervisors and managers within their system retaliated against employees who had previously spoken out about misconduct within the VA healthcare system. Acting VA secretary Sloan Gibson said that such behavior will not be tolerated.
“I think that is wrong. It is absolutely unacceptable,” Gibson said June 6th.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said that as many as 37 VA healthcare system employees claim that they were retaliated against for questioning such practices as falsifying records, covering up treatment delays, and long waits for appointments. The OSC is looking into the VA employees’ claims under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Acting Sec. Gibson, who already has his hands full with improving Veteran healthcare and maintaining his departments activities in all other aspects of Veteran benefits, vows to uphold the law.
“There have been questions raised about intimidation or even retaliation. There is a law that forbids that, and we’ll follow the law,” Gibson said, in a press conference.
The OSC has already blocked disciplinary actions against three VA employees who had complained about retaliation, including one employee who was suspended for seven days after complaining to the VA’s Inspector General about improper scheduling practices.
The OSC also blocked another 30-day suspension without pay for a VA employee who reported inappropriate use of patient restraints. A demotion of a third employee who had reported the mishandling of patient care funds was blocked.
The whistleblowers’ complaints came from 28 different VA facilities in 18 states. Half of the complaints have been filed during the past two months, when pressure from the Capitol and the media began bombarding the VA.
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Military Connection: VA Faces more Allegations: By Debbie Gregory