The Department of Veterans Affairs has been assaulted from all sides in light of recent revelations regarding the quality of care and administration cover-ups. With the alleged misconduct so pervasive, it may seem surprising that no one came forward sooner. As public opinion about the VA and its high-level administrators just keeps getting worse, it now appears that whistleblowers who attempted to come forward about the problems at the VA may have been singled out for retaliation by their superiors.
According to the Washington Post, the federal Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has launched an investigation into widespread retaliation against whistleblowers across the country who tried to expose alleged records falsification and other fraudulent practices at the VA. The retaliatory acts included demotions, suspensions and undeserved poor performance reviews:
OSC believes that VA managers subjected as many as 37 would-be whistleblowers to retaliatory action.
The allegations involve 28 VA offices and facilities across 18 states, including Texas.
While many of these whistleblowers were allegedly targeted for bringing attention to the VA’s use of deceptive scheduling practices to disguise the delays that vets seeking treatment were forced to endure, others were reporting additional misconduct, including routine violations of treatment procedures.
While many whistleblower compensation programs do exist to provide substantial compensation to those who report malfeasance, in fact, most people do so because they believe it is the right thing to do. The VA revelations illustrate that, despite the broad legal protection whistleblowers enjoy, they still expose themselves to a significant initial risk of retaliation.