VA settles complaints by 3 Phoenix whistleblowers

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Veterans Affairs Department has reached financial settlements with three employees who faced retaliation after filing whistleblower complaints about the troubled Phoenix VA hospital.

The employees were among the first to report widespread wrongdoing at the Phoenix hospital, including chronic delays for veterans seeking care and falsified waiting lists covering up those delays. Similar problems soon were identified across the country amid a growing scandal that forced the ouster of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki (shin-SEHK'-ee).

Retaliation complaints were filed by emergency room Dr. Katherine Mitchell, spokeswoman Paula Pedene and program analyst Damian Reese. The independent Office of Special Counsel and the VA announced settlement of the complaints Monday in separate statements. All three retained jobs at the VA and received undisclosed monetary settlements.