Phoenix whistleblower shares her experience exposing VA scandal
Nov. 22, 2021
Paula Pedene became a whistle-blower while working for the VA hospital in Phoenix. She discovered that officials were keeping a double set of appointment books to mislead VA administrators about how long it was taking for veterans to receive care. Pedene’s written a book about her experience. It’s titled, “A Sacred Duty,” Paula Pedene joined us earlier.
Pedene was hired as the first full-time public affairs officer at the Phoenix VA in 1994, where her tenure would have a nationally recognized award winning program.
Pedene said she became a whistleblower through a “comedy of errors”. The program had on a leader who was delaying care for patients because he wanted to get a second MRI, and his attitude toward staff members made Pedene a whistleblower on him.
The program had been “gaming the system” and delaying care for veterans purely for performance ratings.
“There was a national performance metric to get patients within 14 days under primary care and 30 days under specialty care, so if you did that you’d get these great big performance bonuses. They figured out a way to game the system,” Pedene said.
Pedene said the VA officers felt threatened by her and knew she was a truth-teller. Pedene wound up working in the basement library facing a demotion.
“The saddest part of it all is the travesty of our nation’s veterans. How do you take anybody who’s sat there, been on the frontlines, defended your freedom my freedom everybody here and do that to them and make them wait,” Pedene said.
Pedene won her whistleblower case, and her case even helped aid in a lot of similar problems around the country.
More information on her book can be found here.