Via WaPo: When Christian Head testified before Congress last year in an effort “to improve the health care provided to our country’s heroes,” his bosses at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLAHS) were not pleased.
Not long after returning to Los Angeles, the head and neck surgeon was moved from an office in the chief of staff’s suite to a former storage room two floors below — “a tiny, dirty, poorly furnished closet-sized” space with a cracked computer monitor, he told another House hearing Monday.Monday’s session demonstrated that VA’s entrenched culture of retaliation against whistleblowers endures, a year after revelations exploded over poor service and the covering up of long patient wait times. The retaliation continues despite the solid efforts of the current VA secretary, who replaced one driven out by the scandal.
“The number of new whistleblower cases from VA employees remains overwhelming,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner told the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee hearing.
As the scandal reached a boil last July, Head testified to members of Congress about “illegal and inappropriate discrimination and retaliation” against employees and “the growing number of complaints coming from VA employees, complaints ranging from racial, gender, and age discrimination and harassment to complaints regarding substandard patient care and treatment.”
He also said then that “administrators and supervisors within GLAHS have created a climate of fear and intimidation, where the system not only fails to protect whistleblowers, but actively seeks to retaliate against them.”
Head got a good taste of that retaliation with his forced move to an office with torn carpet and “trash on the floor, soot covering the floor and windowsills,” he said in an interview Tuesday.