VA whistleblower training would be mandatory under new bill
Department of Veterans Affairs employees would be required to complete a 45-minute whistleblower training course under the law introduced July 23 in the Senate.
The whistleblower training currently offered at the VA is optional for employees, and many choose not to take it, according to a press release regarding the bill.
“VA employees need to know how to speak up if they see concerns about veteran care or other waste, fraud and abuse,” said Senator Maggie Hassan, DN.H., one of the sponsors. Bill.
The proposal would require VA employees to take the training once, but allow the agency’s Office of the Inspector General to send emails to VA employees twice a year without the approval of the VA secretary.
“Our veterans deserve nothing less than high quality care, and the Inspector General’s office plays an important role in helping to ensure that the VA meets its legal obligations,” said the sponsor of the bill, Senator John Boozman, R-Ark., said.
“Our bill will help foster cooperation between VA employees and the Inspector General so that reporting wrongdoing is a process in which all employees are trained. Protecting our former military personnel from negligence or willful misconduct must be a top priority. ”
According to the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, 495 cases have been investigated by the office in the past year, and a further 569 cases have been referred to individual VA offices for their own investigations.
And the Whistleblower Liability and Protection Office reported that more than 354,000 people had been trained in the rights and protections of whistleblowers as of June 2021.
This training is already mandatory and separate from the training on waste, fraud and abuse offered in legislation.
“Effective oversight depends on VA employees reporting wrongdoing and fully cooperating with investigations, inspections, audits and evaluations of the VA Inspector General’s Office. Early and accurate reporting by VA staff can save patients’ lives, protect VA employees, ensure veterans receive the benefits and services they need on time, and recover billions of dollars in monetary recoveries and payments. costs avoided, ”VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal said in the Liberation news.