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Military Connection: VA Offering Relief to Whistleblowers

VA Whistle Blowers

By Debbie Gregory.

On January 20th, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will be offering “whistleblower” relief to over two dozen VA employees. The employees, who had been threatened with retaliation from their superiors, had filed complaints about wrongdoing at VA medical facilities and clinics throughout the country.

Last year, a settlement was reached with three VA employees who blew the whistle on issues concerning unacceptable appointment wait times and falsified waitlists at the Phoenix VA Hospital. These events prompted a national response from Congress, Veterans, and the general public, including legislative measures and the forced resignation of then-VA Secretary General Eric Shinseki. And the settlement has prompted the VA to offer relief to others.

The VA’s actions offer relief to approximately 25 VA employees who faced reprimands, poor evaluations or threats of repercussions after reporting errors and misconduct within the VA healthcare system.

Currently, more than 120 complaints of retaliation are under investigation throughout the VA’s 970 facilities nationwide, following employee allegations about improper patient scheduling, understaffing and other problems.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald had previously promised to eliminate retaliation against whistleblowers as the VA looks to change its image and its culture. The VA has a decades-long reputation for providing service to Veterans that is slower than private sector healthcare.

The VA is now being applauded for its willingness to change, taking steps to protect its employees who file whistleblower complaints, and implementing widespread changes in policy throughout the department.

The VA is committed to holding those who retaliated against the whistleblowers accountable.VA employees who blow the whistle on their superiors because they have identified a legitimate problem should not be punished, they should be protected. And in the opinion of Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, they should be praised.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Nurse’s Deed Disproves Media Stereotype

VA Nurse

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has had a lot of negative press lately, and bad news seem to spread like wildfire. Stories about long wait times, corruption and rude and unsympathetic VA employees are commonplace. That’s why it is important when a story like this one comes along, it should be given the same coverage.

In November 2014, Nurse Chuck Maulden was working a shift in the Emergency Department of the Salisbury VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. A homeless Veteran came in, seeking treatment for large, painful blisters on his feet.

Maulden took the Veteran out of the waiting room into the examination area to triage his complaintMaulden couldn’t help but notice that the Veteran was wearing dirty compression stockings that clung to the wounds.

A VA physician examined the Veteran and instructed Maulden to give him a fresh pair of compression stockings.

Maulden could have just handed the homeless man a new pair of socks and sent him on his way. But instead, this VA nurse went above and beyond to provide care for the Veteran.

Maulden washed the man’s feet with soap and water and then treated them with non-stick dressing so that the man would have a better chance of having his feet heal. Then Maulden obtained a few extra pairs of compression stockings for the Veteran to take with him.

Again, Maulden could have stopped there and sent the man on his way; after all, he had already gone above and beyond to care for this Veteran.

But as the man prepared to leave, Maulden saw that the Veteran’s shoes were worn out and in no shape to provide for proper protection. Maulden asked the Veteran what size shoes he wore. The man answered with the exact same size that Maulden wears. Without a word, Maulden took his shoes off and placed them on the Veteran’s feetMaulden wore medical shoe covers over his socks for the remainder of his shift.

This story is not intended to suggest that every VA employee needs to give away their possessions to the Veterans that they treat. But with all of the negative publicity about the VA and its employees, Mr. Maulden’s tremendous act of humanity and attentiveness to a patient’s needs are at the core of the VA’s purpose and values.

We at MilitaryConnection.com applaud Mr. Maulden and his noble deed. Thank you and all of the employees at the VA for the work you do, for caring for our nation’s Veterans.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Nurse’s Deed Disproves Media Stereotype: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Proposes Punishments: By Debbie Gregory

VA punishmentsIn the ongoing battle to right the ship and regain the public’s confidence in the Veteran healthcare system, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed disciplinary actions against employers who were found to have manipulated data.

On July 29, 2014, the VA recommended disciplinary actions against six VA employees from facilities in Fort Collins, CO and Cheyenne, WY. A review by the Inspector General found that select supervisors from these facilities were found to have personally manipulated data, instructed their subordinates to manipulate data, and withheld accurate information from their superiors.

The VA has proposed that two of these supervisors be removed from federal service. Possible punishments for the other supervisors include two suspensions, a demotion and admonishments.

Understandably, Acting -VA Secretary Sloan Gibson is taking a firm position with employees guilty of misconduct. These employees tarnished the VA’s reputation, integrity and effectiveness, But more importantly, these employees have impeded Veterans from receiving the care that they need. In an official VA statement regarding the proposed disciplinary actions, Acting-secretary Gibson said the following:

“Employees who have been found to have manipulated data, withheld accurate information from their supervisors, and affected the timeliness of care Veterans receive do not reflect VA’s values, and their actions will not be tolerated. VA must earn back the trust of Veterans. Part of earning back that trust is holding people accountable when there is documented evidence of willful misconduct and management negligence. We depend on the dedicated service of VA employees and leaders who live by our core values. Those who have not delivered results honestly have and will be held accountable.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp,amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Proposes Punishments:  By Debbie Gregory