Right Hooks

VA Scandal Could Have Stopped Earlier

Veteran deaths continued because of partisanship.

Dan Gilmore · Mar. 12, 2016

The waste, fraud and abuse in the Veteran Affairs Administration could have been uncovered much sooner if the whistleblowers didn’t fear retribution for going to Republican lawmakers. A social worker at a VA hospital, Germaine Glarno, waited for years knowing that the system was costing veterans’ lives because the head of the VA subcommittee was a Republican. Glarno was then a president of a union representing doctors at the VA. “If I would’ve gone to him two years ago, who knows what kind of lives could’ve been saved,” she said during a recent interview with Illinois radio station WLS-AM. Similarly, a whistleblower in Wisconsin, Lin Ellinghysen, also didn’t follow up on a memo she wrote to Republican lawmakers about the abuse going on in her facility seven years ago. She too was a leader in a health care providers’ union and she felt the political pressure to keep quiet. The truth eventually came out. Some whistleblowers who were originally hesitant to go to a Republican eventually got over their apprehension and did the right thing. Unfortunately, more veteran deaths continued because of partisanship.

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