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3 Veterans Affairs whistleblowers complaints settled

Earlier this year, whistleblowers who worked at a Veteran's Affairs hospital in another state blew the lid off of a scandal involving our nation's veterans. When the whistleblowers were done filing their complaints about financial mismanagement by higher-ups, long appointment wait times and cover-ups of waiting lists that showed the appointment delays, they say they experienced retaliation.

On Sept. 29, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that the three employees who were among the first to report the wrongdoing agreed to a settlement. Financial payments will be received by at least two of the whistleblowers, who included a program analyst and a former chief spokeswoman. The only one of the three who will remain at the hospital for now is the program analyst. The other two employees are now employed within the VA hospital system elsewhere.

The scandal rocked the DoVA, resulting in the resignation of the VA secretary and the passage of a new law that makes firing senior officials easier. There were more than 125 complaints filed by VA hospital employees around the country that allege retaliation. These settlements were the first settlements reached.

Because of these whistleblowers, there is now greater oversight at the 970 VA clinics and hospitals nationwide. When our veterans seek medical care, they should not be subjected to excessive wait times or a sub-standard of care. One of the whistleblowers reported that understaffing in the emergency department led to staff missing heart attacks, strokes, internal bleeding and other serious health issues.

Veterans in Minnesota and across the country have a right to specific services, including treatment for war-related injuries, payments for veterans disability and in some cases, Social Security disability benefits. In order to understand what disability payments or services a veteran may qualify for, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced disability attorney.

Source: KSAZ, "VA settles complaints by 3 Phoenix whistleblowers" Matthew Daly, Associated Press, Sep. 29, 2014

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