Whistleblower Law Blog

Topic: Department of Veterans Affairs

Ongoing Whistleblower Complaints Show VA’s Failure to Fix Hospital Problems, Warns OSC

A stream of whistleblower complaints raises alarms about the ability of a Mississippi veterans hospital to care for its patients, a top government agency warned in an unusual letter to President Obama and members of Congress.

Carolyn Lerner, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), said in the letter that her agency had seen a pattern of complaints about the hospital, the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Jackson, Miss. — but that top officials refused to take the reports seriously.

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Air Force Times Interviews The Employment Law Group® Principal Dave Scher on Department of Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers

Dave Scher, Principal of The Employment Law Group® law firm, was interviewed by the Air Force Times, an independent weekly newspaper for U.S. Air Force personnel, retirees, and their families, regarding recent whistle-blowing by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians.

Commenting on the case of a VA doctor who was fired after filing a complaint about unsafe patient practices and dangerous working conditions at a VA Medical Center in Northport, N.Y., Scher noted that in November 2011, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel substantiated the allegations and that “the special counsel herself went out of her way to praise [the physician’s] courage in a press release.”

The Air Force Times feature article also profiled other cases in which The Employment Law Group® law firm has been involved in assisting VA doctors who claim that “they were fired or harassed for speaking out about problems affecting patient care”.

Specifically, the article mentioned the case of Shen v. Shinseki, in which The Employment Law Group® law firm succeeding in obtaining a rare order from a federal court that prohibited the VA from terminating a Title 38 physician while her complaint was pending.

Additionally, The Employment Law Group® law firm currently represents Dr. Shanker Raja who alleges that patients received improper doses of radiation, and the firm also helped Dr. Carolyn Gaston overturn her suspension after she was suspended for treating critical patients before those with nonthreatening illnesses in a VA medical center emergency room which she claimed was understaffed.

Principal Attorney Scher noted that such management problems frequently occur throughout the VA and that often times “supervisors either don’t know the rules, they don’t follow the rules or they don’t care.”

The article, entitled “Whistle-blowers Sue VA, Claim Reprisal”, appeared in the January 16, 2012 edition of the Air Force Times.

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