New Findings Substantiate Whistleblowers’ Claims

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Fairchild Air Force Base active and Guard leadership tour the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center while talking to staff and veterans in Spokane, Wash., Feb. 14, 2014.

Fairchild Air Force Base active and Guard leadership tour the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center while talking to staff and veterans in Spokane, Wash., Feb. 14, 2014.

A letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Sept. 17 states that the Department of Veterans Affairs has neither listened to, nor protected, whistleblowers and has not punished employees who tried to interfere with whistleblowers.

One of the cases examined in the letter involved Dr. Katherine Mitchell, a VA doctor who raised alarms about the lack of trained triage nurses at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. However, the Office of Special Counsel found that VA officials failed to act on Mitchell’s information for five years and took no action against those responsible in Phoenix.

The letter also found similarly dangerous situations in other VA hospitals, where “the lack of accountability in these cases stands in stark contrast to disciplinary actions taken against VA whistleblowers,” wrote Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner in the letter.