Video: VA whistleblower claims supervisors forced her to keep secret wait list

posted at 8:01 am on June 26, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

More whistleblowers are coming forward from the VA, but this woman from North Carolina gives a special insight into the way that wait-list fraud propagated within the system. Paulene DeWenter makes clear that the use of secret wait lists was no spontaneously-occurring method for front-line workers to deal with overstressed resources, but a deliberate strategy employed by VA management. DeWenter tells WITN that her boss told her to use the secret wait list method, or else she would buy DeWenter a bus pass — one way out of town:

DeWenter blew the whistle after one of the patients on her list died. The daughter of the veteran concurs, saying that the catalyst for DeWenter’s decision came after a confrontation between the two of them over her father’s lack of care in the two months preceding his death. DeWenter tells WITN that management at her facility has changed or deleted her notes on patient care, but she’s doing her best to make sure the unnecessary deaths from maintaining secret wait lists don’t get covered up again.

In New York, the VA doesn’t give out one-way bus passes, but they’re not much happier with whistleblowers. A nurse with 28 years on the job found herself in a cubicle facing suspension after she tried to report abuse, fraud, and stolen drugs:

A Veterans Affairs nurse who spent 28 years at the embattled agency’s facility in Albany, N.Y., says when she came forward to report abuse including stolen drugs and mistreatment of patients, her supervisors turned on her instead of trying to fix things.

Nursing manager Val Riviello, 55, was considered an outstanding employee at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center until last November, when she reported that doctors had restrained a patient for seven hours in violation of VA rules. Now she has been banished to an office cubicle, stripped of her nursing duties and supervisory role and faces a 30-day suspension without pay.

Riviello told FoxNews.com Wednesday that she reported her claim of whistle-blower reprisal to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the VA Inspector General, and divulged other disturbing practices she had seen over the years. She told authorities officials at the facility later restrained the same patient for 49 hours during a holiday weekend last February, in a gross violation of procedures.

“That’s really kind of barbaric,” Riviello said. She said restraints are for patients who are a threat to themselves and others and are supposed to come off when that is no longer the case.

Riviello also reported the theft of 5,000 vials of morphine from a locked drawer. She said the vials were refilled with saline solution, which was given to veterans in hospice care and in dire need of pain management. Riviello said the thief was a nurse who just got caught.

 
Speaking of editing records, the Montgomery, Alabama VA has found a way to look more efficient. They just copy and paste information into patient files to make it look like the doctor has provided care to the patient:

I’m sure that the real solution is to give the VA more money while doing absolutely nothing to change its structure or culture. Yeah … that’ll work.


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Coming soon to an Obamacare facility near you…

sadatoni on June 26, 2014 at 8:09 AM

“Death Panels”

Electrongod on June 26, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Yes, this is what Obamacare will look like for all. Can’t wait.

Mark Boabaca on June 26, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Obamacare here we come

cmsinaz on June 26, 2014 at 8:18 AM

“Some people live…some people die…”

“Take the pain pill….”

Electrongod on June 26, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Government is incapable of policing itself. This is just one of many example we’re seeing of that.

Flange on June 26, 2014 at 8:27 AM

There is something very sick and twisted in the VA culture. So-called health care professionals giving salt water instead of morphine to dying patients in terrible pain — that’s not bureaucratic malfeasance, that’s pure evil.

These people should be horsewhipped.

AZCoyote on June 26, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Speaking of editing records, the Montgomery, Alabama VA has found a way to look more efficient. They just copy and paste information into patient files to make it look like the doctor has provided care to the patient:

Yeah….. I’m pretty sure that’s a criminal act.

The more this story unravels the clearer it is that there is no way that Eric Shinseki was clueless about what was going on at the VA.

Happy Nomad on June 26, 2014 at 8:34 AM

I’m sure that the real solution is to give the VA more money while doing absolutely nothing to change its structure or culture. Yeah … that’ll work.

It’s not just the VA. 90%+ of the IRS political donations go to the Fascist-Democrats.

The problem is the feral bureaucracy.

rbj on June 26, 2014 at 8:34 AM

MeanWhile,…………………….:

Federal Eye
Two senior VA officials stepping down
June 25 at 11:01 AM
*******************

Two senior Veterans Affairs Department officials will be stepping down this week as a personnel overhaul continues in the wake of the resignation of former VA secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

Will Gunn,

who has served as VA general counsel since 2009, will be stepping down from a job he’s held since the start of the Obama administration.

And Robert Jesse,

currently the acting undersecretary for the Veterans Health Administration, will be stepping down and rejoining the department’s medical ranks.

The forthcoming changes are according to two people familiar with the shakeup who were not authorized to speak publicly about them. A formal announcement of the departures is expected later Wednesday or Thursday, the two people said.
(More…)
=============

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/06/25/two-senior-va-officials-stepping-down/

canopfor on June 26, 2014 at 8:38 AM

“Look at the VA. It’s a great example of how a single-payer system can work!”

Well, what say you now, libs?

TarasBulbous on June 26, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Veterans Affairs @DeptVetAffairs · Jun 23

VA News Releases: Acting Secretary Gibson Statement on Whistleblower Protections http://1.usa.gov/1l4nbQP
======================================

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 23, 2014

Acting Secretary Gibson Statement on Whistleblower Protections

WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson today released a statement following the Office of Special Counsel’s letter to the President regarding VA whistleblowers:

“At VA, we depend on the service of VA employees and leaders who place the interests of Veterans above and beyond self-interest, and who live by VA’s core values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.

“I respect and welcome the letter and the insights from the Office of Special Counsel. 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.

“VA accepts the OSC recommendations in today’s letter to the President. Accordingly, I have directed a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Office of Medical Inspector’s operation, to be completed within 14 days. This will include a review of process, structure, resourcing, and how recommendations are tracked and reviewed. Additionally, this review will include consideration of personnel actions and will designate an official to assess the conclusions and the proposed corrective actions in OSC reports.”

Acting Secretary Gibson sent a message to all VA employees on June 13, 2014 regarding the importance of whistleblower protection and has met with employees at VA Medical Centers across the country to reemphasize that message.

“I reminded all 341,000 of our employees that we must protect whistleblowers and create workplace environments that enable full participation of employees,” Gibson added. “As I told our workforce, intimidation or retaliation – not just against whistleblowers, but against any employee who raises a hand to identify a problem, make a suggestion, or report what may be a violation in law, policy, or our core values – is absolutely unacceptable. I will not tolerate it in our organization.”

# # #

http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2564

https://twitter.com/DeptVetAffairs/

canopfor on June 26, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Obamacare here we come

cmsinaz on June 26, 2014 at 8:18 AM

cmsinaz: The Grimm Reaper me thinks,..(sarc)…Good Morning:)

canopfor on June 26, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Hey libfree: This is single payer.

Buck Farky on June 26, 2014 at 8:42 AM

I’m sure that the real solution is to give the VA more money while doing absolutely nothing to change its structure or culture. Yeah … that’ll work.
===========================================================================

Pen/Phone/Executive Order!!!
(sarc)

canopfor on June 26, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Won’t be too much longer and we’ll be hearing “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!!!”

bimmcorp on June 26, 2014 at 8:49 AM

I’m sure that the real solution is to give the VA more money while doing absolutely nothing to change its structure or culture. Yeah … that’ll work.
==========================================================================

Annual Budget Submission

President’s Budget Request
Fiscal Year 2015:

he President’s vision for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to transform VA into a 21st Century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-driven, and
forward-looking.

The President’s 2015 Budget includes $163.9 billion for VA in 2015. This includes $68.3 billion in discretionary resources and $95.6 billion in mandatory funding. Our discretionary budget request represents an increase of $2.0 billion, or 3.0 percent, over the 2014 enacted level.

VA’s 2015 budget provides the resources necessary to meet its priority goals to increase Veteran access to benefits and services, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end Veteran homelessness. The Budget will help ensure that Veterans, their families, and survivors receive the highest quality benefits and services we can provide and which they earned through their sacrifice and service to our Nation.
Current Fiscal Year Budget Submission

View the Full Presidential 2015 Budget and Announcement
VA Press Release
Fast Facts — VA’s Budget Highlights
FY 2015 Budget Rollout
http://www.va.gov/budget/docs/summary/Fy2015-BudgetRollout.pdf

VA’s budget is detailed in four volumes:

Volume I Summary
Volume II Medical Programs and Information Technology Programs
Volume III Benefits and Burial Programs and Departmental Administration
Volume IV Construction, Long Range Capital Plan and Appendix

Previous Fiscal Years (FY) Budget Submissions Archives

FY 2014 Budget Submission
FY 2013 Budget Submission
FY 2012 Budget Submission
FY 2011 Budget Submission
FY 2010 Budget Submission
FY 2009 Budget Submission
FY 2008 Budget Submission

Note: You may need to visit the VA Viewer Software page to view the documents available on this page.

http://www.va.gov/budget/products.asp

canopfor on June 26, 2014 at 8:51 AM

I depend on the VA for a lot of my medical care, and I’ve been denied access to specialists I desperately need to see, and given tons of unnecessary tests and long delays. There are certain departments that I refuse to use because I’m merely a check box for the almost retired department head who refuses to listen to me or provide proper treatment. Also it’s nearly impossible to see a real doctor, all I get is a PA who wants to put me on cholesterol medication when I have 5 kidney stones. I’ve had to have my records corrected because they specifically removed or falsified information to make themselves look better. Thank God I have found a local urologist who understands my unique situation.

Mini-14 on June 26, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Dismantle the VA. Blow up the entire system into smithereens and start over. If all this doesn’t prove the U.S. government can’t be trusted to provide proper services for our veterans, then I don’t know what will.

IRS whistle-blowers? You’re up next…now where are you?

lynncgb on June 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM

At least there are some whistle-blowers at the VA. Anyone heard from one at the IRS?

GarandFan on June 26, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Waiting for the trolls to show up and impugn this woman’s character.

CurtZHP on June 26, 2014 at 9:42 AM

VA management is Nazi for pay. I’ll bet if they didn’t work at the VA, they’d be welcoming pregnant women to PP. How do these people live with themselves.

Kissmygrits on June 26, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Electrongod on June 26, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Somehow I didn’t expect death panels to consist of an appointment clerk and a desk drawer. Cost saving, low tech, painful death, and they didn’t even get the pill for comfort that Obama promised.

Cindy Munford on June 26, 2014 at 9:57 AM

These VA supervisors need to experience correctional facility healthcare. For starters. Nothing less will be acceptable.

No high ranking bureaucrats taking the fall (and then quietly getting to live their life out on a fat pension). That’s not good enough.

reaganaut on June 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

If only the whistleblowers at the IRS, DHS, EPA, and DOJ would come forward with the truths they know but are afraid to tell.

iamsaved on June 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM

This is Single Payer with no patient choice at the VA. That is the goal of the progressive left for all of us. Then we all can experience what customer service was like in the old Soviet Union.

KW64 on June 26, 2014 at 10:41 AM

At least there are some whistle-blowers at the VA. Anyone heard from one at the IRS?

GarandFan on June 26, 2014 at 9:31 AM

When they get outraged at the EPA, I hear they plug the toilets and poo in the hallways. The IRS must not have hired the same Occupy Wallstreet types as the EPA did.

KW64 on June 26, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Once again, a startling lack of trolls in this thread. Where you butt-boys at? Don’t have the will to defend the indefensible? The direct results of the policies of your secular Messiah?

TarasBulbous on June 26, 2014 at 10:47 AM

That lady is Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher, Clara Barton, and the thousands of women who helped push back the frontier all in one.

The problem is the feral bureaucracy.

rbj on June 26, 2014 at 8:34 AM

As opposed to Federal.

Nicely put.

formwiz on June 26, 2014 at 11:14 AM

The problem is the feral bureaucracy.

rbj on June 26, 2014 at 8:34 AM

As opposed to Federal.

Nicely put.

formwiz on June 26, 2014 at 11:14 AM

What difference, at this point, do a “d” and a second “e” make?

Steve Eggleston on June 26, 2014 at 11:22 AM

reaganaut on June 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

They can’t even fire them, let alone send them to jail. Bonuses seem to be the only punishment available. Is there anything worse than being bumped into a higher tax bracket?

Cindy Munford on June 26, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Riviello also reported the theft of 5,000 vials of morphine from a locked drawer. She said the vials were refilled with saline solution, which was given to veterans in hospice care and in dire need of pain management. Riviello said the thief was a nurse who just got caught.

I WANT TO MEET THIS “NURSE”. JUST GIVE ME 10 MINUTES, AND HE OR SHE WILL WISH THAT MORPHINE WAS AVAILABLE. That is the work of pure evil.

JusDreamin on June 26, 2014 at 11:31 AM

All who made Veterans suffer or die, for their bonuses, I hope you all die a very slow/painful death.

Schadenfreude on June 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM

The fraud going on agent orange or other disability claims done via grifters who work the wait rooms of the VA for law firms. The staff have to know as these crooks are in the wait rooms day after day.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on June 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

…and yet…no one has been arrested…or up for prosecution!…WTF!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 26, 2014 at 1:03 PM