top of page

"Go to Patient Advocate" .....Interesting....

Found this article (I added it at the end of this entry)very interesting as it deals with disciplinary actions on VA employees. I have also included the title of the article and the site that posted it.

The thing is if we want to make a complaint it has to go through the patient advocate first. Honestly I've used the advocate many times in different instances at different VA hospitals. The complaints ranged in seriousness. Some advocates I feel don't even give a rat's ass about what the complaint or situation is and act like their day has been interrupted to hear the veteran. Many times I have experienced the advocate's office being closed more often then not and it taking months before an actual reply happens.

In the last 3 years here in the Albany VA I have needed to speak with an advocate on a few occasions. For one thing, they went from having 2 or 3 advocates to only 1. I find that troubling as she is only one person and there are so many veterans that come to the Albany VA. I will say that this advocate has at least tried to help. Now during all this COVID crisis, the advocate office has been closed since March. Yes, there is a number to call to leave a message and that you will get a response in the order of the ones received. This lady is one person! Just the fact we now have to call a number to leave a message voicing our concerns is a bit aggravating. Second of all, the other issue is being able to file the compliant that goes to the Chief of Staff of that doctor and then you wait for an "investigation", basically they talk to that doctor and see if your complaint is a valid one. The problem is being labeled a "whistle blower". They can say all they want that doctors take an oath blah, blah, and wouldn't lie. But that is an outright lie in itself. We don't live in a perfect world I get that, but if you went into a profession such as this then you treat people with some sort of respect or something. I get that there are those patients that are just out of control, loud, hypochondriacs, etc. I get they have to deal with all kinds, but it seems all veterans in some doctors eyes are either addicts or hypochondriacs. I can tell you that I don't like having to go to the VA period. I don't make shit up or over exaggerate so I can hang out there. It is the last place on earth I want to be. The last time I legitimately had a solid compliant and not only a person with me that seen it happen, but also notes by the previous provider explaining my medical issues. So I'm talking about having major case on my end against this piece of crap. That asshole was pissed I complained about him and flagged my VA file as "hostile, drug seeking, faker". So anytime since then I have appointments I have new doctors that are like whoa wait a minute. Now they removed him from being my doctor over it all, but he is still a clinician in one of the primary care areas. I have to, yes I have to fill out a stack of forms with all the proof I have and the Advocate had, and turn that in to the head of the hospital for review so that it can be permanently redacted from my records. My problem is why am I having to prove myself again for the same piece of shit that still continues to work there? Why not redact it when they seen he made those notes just prior to being in front of the Chief of Staff? All I am saying is the constant response of "call the patient advocate" isn't working anymore. Even if there were 2 advocates for this VA, there isn't enough done about the complaints.

I see the boxes over the years in the VA hospitals that say 'How are we doing leave a comment'. Do they even care what anyone has to say? I don't think so in the overall picture of things. It's something put there, like the advocate, to make you feel good that something might possibly be done. It's terrible we have to feel, when we hear 'go to the advocate', instant cringing and disgust. To me that's saying "f-you, stop being a cry-baby", seriously....

"VA’s accountability office recommended 7 senior leaders for discipline within 18-month period

The office designed to hold top leaders accountable for poor performance, misconduct and retaliation at the Department of Veterans Affairs has received thousands of complaints and recommended disciplinary action against seven senior leaders and supervisors. According to its latest report to Congress, VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection received 3,463 complaints from Oct. 2018 through May 31, 2020. A total of 39,818 VA supervisors and more than 1,000 senior leaders fall within OAWP’s investigative scope for whistleblower retaliation, poor performance or misconduct. VA’s accountability office has recommended disciplinary action against six senior leaders for misconduct and one supervisor for whistleblower retaliation during the 18-month reporting period. At least one of OAWP’s recommended disciplinary actions was not implemented. In that situation, OAWP recommended a suspension for the chief of staff at a VA medical center who had closed a surgery program without following departmental policy or ensuring a community referral process was in place. The chief of staff’s actions “potentially endangered veterans’ care,” OAWP said. But the director of this particular VA medical center chose not to follow through with OAWP’s recommended course of disciplinary action. In other instances, VA did act on OAWP’s recommendations. The department, for example, demoted a VA medical center chief of staff to a non-supervisory position after that individual failed to separate an employee from an alleged sexual harasser. Another case ended differently. OAWP found a VA supervisory physician had retaliated against an employee. The VA accountability office recommended corrective actions for both the physician and the whistleblower. “The VAMC could not implement OAWP’s recommended disciplinary action as the supervisory physician is no longer a VA employee; however, the VAMC implemented OAWP’s recommendation for corrective action for the whistleblower,” the report reads. Though a majority, or 69%, of the 3,463 complaints OAWP received within the 18-month reporting period fall outside the VA accountability office’s scope of responsibility, one recommendation for disciplinary action against a supervisor for whistleblower retaliation seems to fall short, said Chris Pappas, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.  He said the latest report from OAWP is yet another “clear sign” the office is failing whistleblowers. About 20% of the complaints were considered whistleblower disclosures and also fell outside OAWP’s purview. The remaining 11%, or 389 cases, were turned over to OAWP for investigation."

130 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

The VA and Medical Alert Systems

I had someone recently reach out to me about sharing something with everyone about medical alert systems for veterans. I personally did not know about this and it's really interesting to find out how

1 Comment

Last First
Last First
Aug 29, 2020

Patient advocates are a cul-de-sac where legitimate grievences go to die. The red flagging or black balling or whatever you call it is certainly real. Unless the veteran fills out a request form for their medical file they will only see a portion of their record through MHV.

I returned my medical card directly to the Atlanta benefits office via usps. Get this, i can sign a authorization form for veterans affairs group like the VFW to be able to read my entire medical file through the VistA system but if i want access to it i have to send in a form detailing exactly what i want covering exact dates.

I think every veteran should go online and read…

bottom of page