The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a scathing letter to the White House detailing the often improper treatment endured by many veterans in Veterans Affairs facilities across the country.
According to the report, one patient spent eight years waiting in a VA psychiatric facility in Brockton, Mass. before receiving a medication assessment.
Another veteran at the same facility had been a patient for seven years before a single note was made on his chart.
Although the VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector routinely dismisses the agency’s shortcomings as being harmless to patients’ health, new reports – such as the OSC’s most recent report – indicate a different reality.
As the report details, there are more than 50 pending whistleblower cases from VA employees.
According to CNN, these cases represent “more than a quarter of all matters referred by OSC for investigation government-wide.”
The report detailed a host of other allegations, many of them stemming from the medical center in Jackson, Miss. Amongst the center’s numerous infractions were “unlawfully prescribing narcotics, using unsterile medical equipment, and scheduling appointments in ‘ghost clinics’ that had no actual providers, resulting in veterans not receiving treatment.”
The VA has refused to acknowledge that these developments affected veterans’ health or safety.
Another whistleblower claimed that a facility in Grand Junction, Colo. failed to complete standard maintenance procedures to fix the elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in the facility’s drinking water.
OMI, however, found no substantial danger to public health in the situation.
Sloan Gibson, the VA’s acting director, issued a statement in response to the OSC’s letter in which he expressed twofold disappointment in the troubling reports.
“I am deeply disappointed not only in the substantiation of allegations raised by whistleblowers, but also in the failures within VA to take whistleblower complaints seriously,” Gibson stated.