U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald announced that the VA has successfully resolved complaints of whistleblower retaliation that was filed by three employees in Phoenix.
Working in cooperation with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the VA has implemented several measures meant to strengthen whistleblower protection and improve accountability within the department. Department officials have taken steps to remind all VA employees of the importance of whistleblower protection. Sec. McDonald has emphasized that managers and supervisors bear a special responsibility for enforcing whistleblower protection laws. McDonald has met with employees at VA Medical Centers across the country in order to drive home the importance and seriousness of his message.
“At VA, we take whistleblower complaints seriously and will not tolerate retaliation against those who raise issues which may enable VA to better serve Veterans,” Sec. McDonald said. “We depend on VA employees and leaders to put the needs of Veterans first and honor VA’s core values of ‘Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence.’”
Each whistleblower complaint was resolved individually. Two of the whistleblowers have accepted new positions within the VA.
The VA says that the department is committed to achieving and remaining in compliance with the OSC 2302 (c) Certification program. The VA has established the Office of Accountability Review (OAR) with direct access to the department’s secretary. The OAR’s charter is to ensure leadership accountability for indiscretions related to patient scheduling and access to care, whistleblower retaliation and related matters that impact public trust in the VA.
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Military Connection: VA Whistleblower Cases Settled: By Debbie Gregory