The U.S. Office of the Inspector General recently uncovered secret wait lists at Veterans Affairs facilities in the Colorado communities of Golden, Colorado Springs and Denver after tips from a whistleblower. The individual reportedly came forward to expose yet another problem at VA locations.
A report from the Inspector General indicated the wait lists that were uncovered made it impossible to know how many veterans were still waiting for care, how long they had waited to receive that care and whether they even got the care they needed.
According to the report, more than 200 veterans were turned down from the Veterans Choice program, which would have enabled them to seek care from therapists outside of the VA. The outrageous wait times were obscured by the use of a system of Excel spreadsheets, mandated from people “pretty high within the organization,” according to the whistleblower.
One veteran who sought help ended up taking his own life after waiting for two weeks to get a call back from the VA. The agency was supposed to reach out to the man within seven days, but failed to do so.
The VA offices say the staff members involved in curating the wait lists misinterpreted guidelines. Investigators, however, said this was no excuse for the negligence on display in the administration’s offices.
In many cases, systemic wrongdoing within government agencies and private companies would go undiscovered were it not for the reports of whistleblowers. Fortunately, federal protections instituted for whistleblowers in 2011 have removed many of the barriers that once existed for people to come forward and expose wrongdoing.
If you would like to learn more about how you can file a whistleblower claim and get the legal protections you need, meet with a skilled Dallas lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers.