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VA culture described as "corrosive" in report to the President

A new report on the problems with the Veterans Affairs health care system from the President's Chief of Staff Rob Nabors and acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson describes a "corrosive culture," that has led to low morale and resulted in the delaying of health care to veterans.

The report details an environment where workers distrust supervisors and where retaliation takes place against workers who raise "valid complaints" about the system. The acting VA Secretary state that the "systemic problems and cultural issues" must be solved. 

For employees within the VA health system, this report probably comes as welcome news, and raises the prospect that something will be done to correct the large-scale problems within the system.

Nevertheless, employees must be concerned that their jobs and careers may be on the line. While disciplinary actions may be necessary against many supervisors who may have been complicit in the operations that hid the delays in veterans care, far ranging scandals like this can cause significant collateral damage to employees, as political pressure mounts to find a solution.

The seriousness of the situation has raised the prospect of criminal charges from the Justice Department, which is working with the VA Inspector General's Office to assess the situation.   

According to information the VA has released, some schedulers were told by supervisors to create false records for veteran's appointments. Employees may be at risk of adverse job actions, job termination or even criminal charges with these matters.

Employees should be very careful what they say and to whom they say it. If they have questions, they may want to speak with their own attorney, for guidance and help with dealing with issues arising from this scandal.

Source: USA.com, 'Top officials describe "corrosive culture," bad management in VA health system,' Gregg Zoroya, June 27, 2014

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