Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing from whistleblowers

The US House committee on Veterans

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Wichita, Kan. -- "Shocking and unbelievable" says Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp of the testimony being heard in the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Tuesday evening.

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs heard from four whistleblowers in the veterans hospital scandal including three physicians.

The first district republican says, "Across this nation we've had dozens and dozens of brave men and women step forward to say, 'Hey! The care is failing.'" There's cover ups. There's incompetence. There's veterans who are dying."

He says it took whistleblowers coming forward to expose the problem but says some of them are facing reprisals including reassignments or firings.

"It's almost unbelievable that the folks who are in charge of our veterans are actually attacking those that are pointing out problems and cover ups in the system."

The VA scandal started with the Phoenix VA hospital but since spread across the nation and includes the finding of an unauthorized patient list at the Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita.

"We've heard from folks inside the Dole Center that have provided some pretty serious allegations. We're trying to document and substantiate those."

"Indeed we just heard a few weeks ago from an individual that claimed appointments were being made for patients who were already deceased months before. Then a provider calls them up and no one shows up because they were deceased six months before. How does that occur? That does not occur by accident. Those are just a taste of what we're hearing. We're also hearing of more serious allegations within the system."

Huelskamp says he's hoping legislation will result protecting the whistleblowers.

"I think we all agree that if you do a poor job and veterans are harmed by incompetence, that's who should lose their job, not the people who report it."

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