Created: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 03:10:00 EST
Updated: Thu, 10 Jul 2014 09:58:26 EST
Washington, DC (WGCL) -- Scott Davis told the House Veterans' Committee at a hearing on whistle blowers that the problems he has seen have hurt hundreds of thousands veterans.
Davis is a program specialist at the Veterans Affairs National Health Eligibility Center. Davis reported on a litany of issues at the center that he said including "the possible purging and deletion of over 10,000 veteran health records at the Health Eligibility Center. A backlog of over 60,000 pending health applications. Nearly 40,000 unprocessed applications discovered in January of 2013. These were primarily applications from returning service members from Iraq and Afghanistan."
Davis said he sent a letter to the White House to President Barack Obama's Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors. Instead of hearing back from the White House, Davis said his boss began harassing him about reporting the issues at the center.
Davis said his employment records were altered, he was illegally placed on a permanent work detail and at one point placed on involuntary administrative leave. At the same time he said there continued to be medical errors, patient neglect and misconduct.
Davis said there continues to be a "reckless waste of federal funds and causing a greater backlog of enrollment applications, for the sole purpose of achieving performance goals," Davis said. He also said there is a "need to remove ineffective managers."
Other whistle blowers testified that because of the mismanagement and culture of denying problems veterans have lost their lives.
"Symptoms such as stroke, heart attack, pneumonia, blood infection and other serious medical issues were routinely missed by inexperienced triage nurses or experience triage nurses who were overwhelmed by the flood of patients hitting our ER," Dr. Katherine Mitchell said who works at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Iraq and Afghanistan Post said. "It is a bitter irony to me that I as a physician, could not guarantee their health and safety within a VA facility in the middle of cosmopolitan Phoenix."
The whistle blowers said they were still worried about retaliation when they return to their jobs.
If you could do one thing for me tonight," Dr. Christian Head told the Congress. "You would relieve the obstructions of this retaliation, and allow me to serve the veterans and work without the fear of retaliation that would be a great gift."
Head is the Legal and Quality Assurance Associate Director of the Veterans Affairs Greater LA Healthcare.
All four whistle blowers clearly stated that they came forward because it was not only the right thing to do, but they wanted veterans to get the best care they deserve for fighting for our country.
Members of congress said they would try to strengthen whistle blower laws to protect more people with knowledge of wrongdoing in the VA to come forward without fear of retaliation.