Dan Gilmore / March 12, 2016

VA Scandal Could Have Stopped Earlier

Veteran deaths continued because of partisanship.

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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