Two veterans in a Veterans Affairs psychiatric facility languished for years without proper treatment, according to a scathing letter and report sent Monday to the White House by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, or OSC.
In one case, a veteran with a service-connected psychiatric condition was in the facility for eight years before he received a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation; in another case, a veteran only had one psychiatric note in his medical chart in seven years as an inpatient at the Brockton, Massachusetts, facility.
Examples such as those are the core of the report released Monday by the OSC, an independent government agency that protects whistleblowers.
The agency said it is still investigating more than 50 whistleblower disclosures involving patient health or safety allegations at the VA nationwide, and “these cases represent more than a quarter of all matters referred by OSC for investigation government-wide,” according to the report.
The report also slams the VA’s medical review agency, the Office of the Medical Inspector, or OMI, for its refusal to admit that lapses in care have affected veterans’ health. For example, when the office reviewed the Brockton psychiatric cases, it confirmed the patient neglect yet “denied that… (it) had any impact on patient care.”