VA Holds Abusive VA Employee Accountable

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Tomah VA Employee

Benjamin KrauseTwo VA employees tied to an incident of patient abuse at Tomah VA were finally held accountable, according to Public Affairs Officer Matthew Gowan.

Last week, I reported on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release related an incident of alleged patient abuse at Tomah VA. That abuse was confirmed last Thanksgiving but the agency was slow to release the records and video of the incident.

SEE IT: Video Of Patient Abuse At Tomah VA

The VA employee who assaulted the veteran was removed from service and forced to resign. The other VA employee who witnessed the abuse but failed to report it. Luckily, the whole incident was captured on video.

Gowan reported that the employee who committed the abuse “tendered resignation” while the agency “took steps to separate the employee from federal service.”

The other employee was reportedly suspended for two business weeks (10 days) without pay. This may well be a first and great example of a VA employee being penalized for not becoming a whistleblower.

If true, this would be a good step in a great new direction for the agency, especially at Tomah VA.

PROs AND CONs OF VA EMPLOYEE RESIGNATION

I can deal with the fact that the employee was allowed to resign during terminations proceedings because it saves VA money to avoid the appeals process should the union fight the termination action. Why throw good money after bad?

The guy is forced out of VA and not able to collect unemployment. He will also need to explain why he quit the job without referrals from VA. While a termination would have been better, this is a result I can deal with.

What I am disappointed with is the apparent lack of criminal charges that were brought against the individual. He did assault a vulnerable adult and was caught on video. Why have Tomah, Wisconsin sheriffs not pursued the issue? Or, perhaps they have and we do not know about it?

VA EMPLOYEE RESIGNED DURING TERMINATION PROCEEDINGS

Good afternoon Ben,

I appreciate the opportunity to provide some additional information.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes every effort to provide a safe environment for Veterans, staff and visitors at each of its facilities. VA has a no-tolerance policy for anyone who abuses the Veterans who entrust us with their care. Likewise, we must ensure a safe environment for staff, family members, and visitors. 

In this instance, once officials at the facility became aware of this issue, they removed the employee from patient care and took steps to separate the employee from federal service. In the course of that action, the employee tendered resignation and it was accepted.  Management also suspended, for 10 days without pay, a second VA employee who witnessed the incident and did not promptly report it. 

It is important to note in the course of providing medical services, tensions may become high and disruptive behaviors or behaviors considered threatening do occur. In those instances, VA staff is trained to quickly manage these occurrences with the fewest negative effects possible. In addition, the VA Police Service is trained to de-escalate potentially violent events and to investigate such incidents. VA’s goal is to ensure that its facilities are safe and comfortable places to both deliver and receive care. For more Information about violence prevention in VA health care facilities, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/employeehealth/threat_management/index.asp.

Please feel free to contact me with any additional comments or questions.

Regards,

Matthew

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Don Avant

Assault is a crime…VA is federal property…CALL THE FBI…

Robin Mitchell

Bingo.
And the problem with a civil suit. The US Attorney under Obama will come in and backstop any suit. Give free legal representation and pay any money. It is the thugs way and needs to change. They need to charge the employee. Now you have to file against the Secretary which why you see McDonald v. So much.

Retired Nurse
Retired Nurse

Phoned Federal prosecutor’s office in PHX about VA killings…they spit and sputtered! Now go Vote for TRUMP!

Robin Mitchell
The problem is the US Attorney runs both sides of the house. They are tasked with both prosecuting those for federal crimes and protecting the same agency if they are sued. A firewall is supposed to exist but we know how that works..lawyers are generally scum. Sorry Ben. There are exceptions but given a choice I would take pistols at 20 paces at dawn over a long drawn out lawsuit. And, I am not kidding. At least it is over in seconds not years and most people are lousy shots even at that range. I am a great shot. Beat… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf
Assault on a disabled person is a felony. The person who witnessed the act, and said nothing, should have been charged with “complicity”! They both should have faced a judge. “Quiting” (for the perp), and getting 10 days off, (for the other asswipe), without pay, was, in my opinion, a slap on the wrist! Questions: Does the vet, who was assaulted, have relatives in the area? If yes, could they file some charges against these two individuals? Or, could they file a “civil case” against them and the VAMC for failing to keep their loved one safe? ———————————————- Sitting here… Read more »
Robin Mitchell
Elf, I have posted on the guys looking into Indy and the fiduciary scandal. If they have proof of what they have told me it will dwarf the other scandas. Including Aurora. How about a GS14 with an expensive show horse hobby with a felon for the trainer? How about an offshore account for a known name? Or the 115 year old version of Robert Reynolds running around with a present credit score. Considering that Reynolds gets SOCOM confirmation of a veterans Special Operations status and they couldn’t exclude it being the DAV honorable one it upset them. That is… Read more »
Robin Mitchell
Anyone want to bet that Shulkin is working on Ms Rivera s resignation signature as we speak? Ican’t post it from my phone but last Tuesday bothered him enough to answer the va committee with a pr release op ed on her. A week later no reach out to Zelin on John or why he has to prove medically accepted symptoms of TBI are related to his TBI for aid and attendance. For a doctor that takes pride in his medical school days Shulkin suddenly seems out of touch with what even first year med students are taught.
Retired Nurse
Retired Nurse

When is anyone going to take heed and protect the veteran families from VA threats, lies and harm that is unloaded on family members, by VA?

FLB
FLB

Are third party contractors hired by the VA OIG considered employees or are they just committing crimes against veterans on their own, Without oversight or accountability.

crazy elf
crazy elf
@Robin Mitchell and Retired Nurse. I believe once Mr. Trump gets in office, MANY heads will be cut off, (not literally)! His daughter, (who received a threatening letter), who is also VERY wealthy, was given the “task” of investigating everyone in Washington. Plus his sister, who was appointed by Reagan, is staying very quiet over being threatened also! Who in their right mind would send a threatening letter to a high ranking federal judge? This morning Mr. Trump was “upset”, to say it mildly, over what was reported on “60 Minutes” sunday night. Google: “60 Minutes/dialing for dollars” if y’all… Read more »
Robin Mitchell
Years ago I sold building materials in New York. In addition to meeting a group of Muslim miscreants on the loading dock of WTC not too long before 9/11 my boss used to try to sell to Trump as well. I am told that Trump had all his kids in the business from the time they could understand it. Trump was known to have a superb mind knowing a skyscraper from top to bottom. I used to build an entire house in my head estimating it. Can’t imagine what a skyscraper takes to do that And, if you know the… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

@Robin Mitchell
I agree! Mr. Trump will do just fine!
His attitude toward all politicians is justified. They have gotten away with so much criminal activity, for so long, I believe they think it’s ok to defraud the American People!
Right now, I’ll bet a lot of these miscreants are hiding from their constituents. Especially after Sunday’s addition of “60 Minutes/Dialing for Dollars”!
To be honest, they should be hiding!
I have no trust in any of our government agencies right now. Starting with POTUS on down to each elected and appointed official……and the agencies and/or committees they represent!

James

These type of matters, should be dealt with by the outside court system, not the VA police or management. They are breaking the law and policing themselves. The VA will never change, until the employees are shown by example, if you hurt a veteran, you will be arrested by the local police and charges placed upon them. The employees have to see someone in hand cuffs and escorted out by police. If this were to be done, I bet that the abuse would drop by 90%, knowing their is a price to be paid !

Dennis
Dennis

I guarantee you that had this incident been the other way around with a veteran patient assaulting the employee in the same manner; that veteran would’ve gotten manhandled by the VA police, then locked up and charged with a whole slew of federal violations!

M S
M S
I was an impatient at a VA. And as part of the process, a va employee came to collect my wallet and some other personal belongings. Included in that was a debit/credit card. I was assured that these will all be sealed in a envelope and other plastic bag, and locked in a safe, and given back to me when i am discharged. later that month I got a bank statement that showed about 5000 dollars of charges. a small one to a gas station, of about 10 or 20 dollars. and then another for abour 3k to what appears… Read more »
Robin Mitchell

That was why Baghdad Bob told Fox News to have Rob ONeil the SEAL that killed bin Laden to call his cell. His wallet was stolen while getting iirc an MRI at the va.
We all know how know how that worked out. Bob’s cell said too busy call back later live on the air.

Dennis Parker
Wih all due respect, that was not the employees intent. I have been a guest on thise waeds and godamnit I know personally what goes on. That was pure out of the book a set up. I have seen that too many time to count. That incident was benign comparitively. Let me tell you precisely what the VHA employee was doing; if he succeeded in getting that patient to defend himself physically, that employee and four other like him who were listening nearby in their assigned posts, would put an extremely painful arm bar lock on his neck and he… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
I often bitch about how bad the VA is, but in this instance, I have to applaud them for taking definite action against both of these employees. Definitive because the one will no longer be working with veterans, and the other will have that mark on their record permanently. Both acts of discipline should be enough to wake up other staffers on what could happen with their own jobs if they decide to assault a patient or fail to report an incident. Time will tell if this is just an anomaly in dealing with bad PR quickly or if the… Read more »
James

Agree whole heartily

Dennis Parker

Local,law emforcement cannot investigate and arrest unless asked by VA OIG to do so. This is thhe explanation I was given when I went to local police with the evidence in my hand of illegal drug distribution on the street corner. This was documented by VA police but it never ever went anywhere. I called the local FBI office and hey said if OIG does not refer it, they have no legal standing to,pursue it.

VA is much more powerful than a pitiful Sherrif or State cop, and they damn well know it.

js03

Try forwarding these replies from the FBI and local law enforcement to the OIG via your congress critters office, see how they respond.

Dennis Parker

My Oregon congressman, Peter Defazio, has forwarded multiple letters on my behalf. The fifth response told the Honorable Congressman from Oregon, to respectfully foreard any further inquiries about me to a social worker, whose phone number they did not give.

They gave an extremely powerful representative the middle finger. They are not afraid of congress or the Circuit Court. My congressmans office did all they could do. They do hot have the power to engage an executive branch. V H A is untouchable.

Dennis Parker

If you don’t know what horror is, imagine being strapped down so you cannot move at all and locked in a room so quiet its hard to hear a loud fart. Then imagine your captors have comlete control of everything that makes you vulnerable, including which torments work really well. Then i,agine there are no breathing people in the world that care.

Then you will know what room number one is.

James

Strap them down for awhile

91Veteran
91Veteran

Getting ready to go to the Legions dog and pony show on saving the VA. I emailed the 3 local TV stations. At least 1 is planning on being there and wants an interview before the town hall.

Should be interesting. Depending on how much the Legion wants to control the message.

crazy elf
crazy elf

@91Veteran
Give em hell brother!

91Veteran
91Veteran

The interview went well. She will be at the town hall tonight, then putting the Director on the hot seat later.

crazy elf
crazy elf

@91Veteran
When, or if, the video is shown on your local station. Please put the website on here so all of us can see what’s happening at your end. Especially inside the “town hall”,

crazy elf
crazy elf
Here’s another video concerning the “60 Minutes Dialing for Dollars” article. It’s from MSNBC. The “bill” Congressman Jolly is trying to push through Congress is called the “Stop Act”! It’s four (4) pages of simple common sense politics. BTW, It’s also illegal, through FCC regs, for a “sitting politician to raise money while on the job!” This is why Congressman Jolly (R-Fl) is catching heat from others in Congress! The Utube video is called – “Congressman Calls Out ‘Dialing For Dollars’ System | Morning Joe | MSNBC” A great video, approx. 10 minutes, to watch! Congressman Jolly’s website is called… Read more »
Don Karg
Don Karg

0426/2016

Dear Benjamin Krause,

“Iowa is killing younger vets through admission policies,” Bob Krause of Fairfield said. In addition to being president of the Veterans National Recovery Center, he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/advocate-says-vets-home-killing-young-veterans/article_b9181839-1c32-5a76-a16b-415e24725a93.html

Is this happening across the nation?

Sincerely,

Don Karg

91Veteran
91Veteran
An update to the town hall tonight…in my opinion it was as I suspected, a forum provided to try save the VA from being shut down, with lots of excuses provided and issues completely ignored, but there were also several issues noted where there will be some serious follow-up tomorrow and the days following. Those in attendance were at least 3 National level American Legion people, along with several other Legion officers from around the area. The one who lead the meeting said the “System worth Saving” program has been a Legion program for 13 years. I guess he didn’t… Read more »
Dennis Parker
With respect to my legion brothers, I have noticed Legion members dressed up in legion shit get ushered into psychiatric care past other vets. Ostensibly they are there to assist, however the ones I have seen, many years my senior, have berated younger vets for a variety of things. I was turning in a civil rights complaint when one approached me and berated and belittled me for “biting the hand that helps you.” This came from a guy wearing a hat seldom seen outside parking lots selling little flags to nelp their own. Very hard to take it personal, as… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

I hear what you are saying Dennis. I looked on the town hall as an opportunity for all veterans to state publicly what the VA is already aware of, but refuse to act on because the problem is not public, and nobody is watching.
Issues are on the table now. At this point it depends on whether they keep their word, follow through and make changes.

91Veteran
91Veteran
I forgot to mention a couple of veteran speakers. One was a young guy who clearly was in pain and said he had PTSD who had his pain meds cut off, and could not get spinal care that the VA had provided in the past. The other speaker was rather eye-opening. She is a current local American Legion officer, and was a VA employee up until April 13th when she was fired…5 days short of completing her probationary period. She made clear she was being fired for taking care of veterans, and said her only recourse was to be referred… Read more »
namnibor

All good reporting. Did they allow cameras, video/audio recording or did you get any good stuff perhaps for Benjamin? 🙂

91Veteran
91Veteran

TV was there throughout the event and other media was there with cameras. If you wanted to use a phone camera you could, but I didn’t record any video since I wouldn’t have been able to pay attention as much to those speaking. I really wanted to see how many similar problems were reported, or whether any unique problems were reported.

James

Anything about the DBC

91Veteran
91Veteran

Nothing at all was mentioned by any veteran about DBCs.
Given how many thought the VA should be saved, I am not surprised.

Frank P. Calderon
Dear Mr. Krause: I do not think that such an employee should be protected from any type of punishment and let he /she suffer the punishment meted out to any person that is subjected to any type of deliberate brutality, if someone kicks a dog and is caught he/she will serve jail time. If they will not treat a sick person more humanly then that person does not belong working in a place like such a hospital let them do the time to its fullest extent of the law. No such a person should not be spared from retribution to… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

The video of the town hall last night is up on westernslopenow dot com. I don’t know how long it is since I haven’t watched it yet.

There is also an article in the local newspaper at gjsentinel dot com.

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