The Department of Veterans Affairs is entirely lackluster in listening to whistleblowers and protecting their rights, a new letter from the Office of Special Counsel sent Thursday said.
Long-due, the letter from the independent federal investigative agency supported allegations made by whistleblowers back in 2014 about problems at certain VA facilities, most notably the Carl T. Hayden Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., CNN reports.
Rather than taking steps to address the issues, the letter noted that VA officials often targeted whistleblowers with harassment and intimidation in locations like Maryland, Alabama and West Virginia, among others. In the vast majority of these cases, VA officials took no steps to punish wrongdoers or protect whistleblowers who put themselves on the line when coming forward.
In one case highlighted by the OSC, the VA refused to take any action whatsoever on disclosures from Dr. Katherine Mitchell, who reported delays in health care stemming from a dangerously low number of triage nurses in the Phoenix VA emergency room. This dragged on for five years and created at minimum 110 cases of hazardous delays.