The veterans of the United States have long suffered through the arduous process of dealing with the VA. There are thousands of stories from men and women that detail the grueling and frustrating nature of dealing with the VA. The stories are heart breaking and every day there seems to be another story of a veteran who was unable to get the proper medical care due to a delay or a misdiagnosis. The gross negligence is astounding and there seems to be little relief in site. Although the Accountability Act was passed last year, it seems to have had a little effect and still so many veterans are dying before they can receive medical care. The general public would not have even been aware of these issues if it weren’t for the brave whistleblowers that came forward with their stories of mismanagement. It is not just those people who are fighting the good fight but also attorneys like Natalie Khawam and her firm are working to help these whistleblowers blow the lid off corruption at the VA.
Natalie Khawam knows better than anyone the ramifications that whistleblowers face when they decide to come forward. Her firm specializes in whistleblowing laws and many of her clients have been on the forefront of speaking out against the VA. Khawam and her firm have been retained by numerous whistleblowers to help represent them in their cases. She is very passionate about fighting for not only the nation’s veterans but also to help stop fraud and corruption. Tax payers dollars are being wasted at a phenomenal rate because of corruption and Natalie Khawam and the Whistleblower Law Firm are focused on helping curb fraud by representing those that have spoken out against corruption.
Whistleblowers are vital to the continued wealth and wellbeing of our veterans. The nation’s veteran’s are suffering and the VA is struggling to help them. The veterans are slipping through the cracks and some are dying before they can even get help. The scandal that blew the lid off of the issues at the VA was the infamous “wait time” scandal of 2014. When it was discovered that veterans were waiting an average of 115 days to see a primary care provider. Those wait times, unfortunately, had horrifying consequences. CNN originally reported that about 40 veterans died while waiting to see a primary care giver. An official investigation was done and it was proven that these excessive wait times caused the death of about 40 veterans.
The mismanagement at the VA also is a huge waste of taxpayer’s money. Billions of dollars are being wasted on frivolous and unwarranted spending at the VA on multiple levels and the veterans are paying the price. There are many, many examples of how much money the VA has been wasting. In 2013, a report by the Government Accountability Office found that, “delays and mismanagement contributed to a total cost increase of $1.5 billion at VA construction projects in Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando.”
Officials at a Phoenix, Arizona VA facility were manipulating the computer system to reflect shorter wait times that in reality. This secret wait list was kept out of sight from federal regulators. Federal regulators were sent doctored documents that reflected far shorter wait times. The average wait time was supposed to be less than 30 days for a veteran to see a primary caregiver but this was not the case for veterans seeking care. It was a policy for vets to be seen in under 30 days or less and if the facility were to fall behind, they would lose funding. It was discovered, thanks to a whistleblower and an intense investigation, that the workers at multiple VA facilities were creating a log of the wait times and then printing the screen out to have a piece of proof but then the information was not saved in the system. The workers found a way to manipulate the system so that federal investigators would not be aware of the lengthy wait list times.
Soon, it was discovered that VA facilities everywhere were manipulating the results in order to hide the true horror of the situation. This revelation spurned multiple intense investigations into the VA and the Accountability Act was signed last year. Despite the revelations that the investigations brought forth, there are still prevailing issues surrounding the VA. Attorney Natalie Khawam knows better than anyone how important whistleblowers are to helping fix the VA.
One of her latest client’s, Dr. Dale Klein, blew the whistle on a VA Medical Center in Popular Bluff when he witnessed the veterans were not receiving the proper care at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center. When Dr. Klein spoke up about his concerns, he claims the VA retaliated against him. He says that he was asked to lower his standard of care and he was not getting the support he needed to help the veterans coming to the center. He also says that there was a manipulation of wait times that he says made it impossible to give the veterans the treatment and care that was required to help them with their medical issues. He was suspended after he voiced his concerns but was still paid to do nothing. The amount of time and money that was being wasted on the inefficiency was staggering. Dr. Klein spoke out because he knew the only way to stop the excessive waste of taxpayer’s dollars.
People like Dr. Klein are an integral part of helping curb corruption in the United States. Unfortunately, there are numerous issues at the VA and the problem can’t get solved if no one comes forward to speak out about fraud, waste and corruption. Whistleblowers are important to helping correct a broken system and when they are retaliated against, there is nothing to stop fraud. Natalie Khawam and her firm help those who are in desperate need to legal guidance when they decide to blow the whistle. There needs to be more people like Dr. Klein and Natalie Khawam to help end the horrific issues at the VA.