From the Washington Post:
Is the Department of Veterans Affairs hiding behind HIPAA to hit federal whistleblowers?
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It protects the privacy of patients’ health information. It is not meant to be a weapon against federal employees who expose wrongdoing at the VA or anywhere else.
Citing patient privacy, managers have threatened VA employees or retaliated against those who complain about agency misconduct, according to a key congressman and the union that represents most of the department’s employees.
The “VA routinely uses HIPAA as an excuse to punish into submission employees who dare to speak out,” said Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He is leading a probe into the coverup of long wait times for VA patients.
Disgusting behavior. Rather than owning the problem and working to fix it, the political leadership of the agency is doing everything possible to hammer these employees…using whatever instrument they can.
By the way, inefficiency within the VA predates Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, Bush 41, and Reagan…so that is nothing terribly new. The metrics that are driving the current scandal are a product of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but that is merely the current situation…the underlying cause runs very, very deep.
But that attacking the whistle-blower is a big characteristic of this administration.