The United States Office of Special Counsel received almost 2,000 complaints about VA care in 2016. Carolyn Lerner, Special Counsel, requested an extra $2.4 million in the 2018 budget to handle the complaints, since the OSC anticipates receiving more cases in fiscal year 2017.
VA Secretary David Shulkin and President Trump have encouraged more VA whistle-blowers to come forward to address VA employees’ concerns without fear of retaliation. Curtis Cashour, Secretary Shulkin’s spokesman, stated: “Our goal is to rebuild trust among employees and supervisors so that problems can be solved at the lowest level possible.”
United States Representative for New Hampshire, Ann Kuster explained: “We know that far too many veterans face unacceptable hurdles when accessing VA care, and whistle-blowers play an important role in identifying areas where change is needed.”
Whistle-blowers from Maine, Rhode Island, Utah, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina have come forward to report mismanagement and poor care that threatens the health of veterans at other VA facilities.
Mr. Cashour said that if any whistle-blowers feel they have been victims of retaliation, they should contact the new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.