U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES REPORT TO THE
PRESIDENT DISCLOSING SUBSTANTIAL AND SIGNIFICANT DANGER TO PUBLIC HEALTH AT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/14/98
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a
report to President Clinton which disclosed evidence of substantial and
specific health dangers at the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Franklin Delano
Roosevelt Hospital (Montrose) in Montrose, New York.
The Office of Special Counsel provides federal employees
with a secure channel for blowing the whistle on gross mismanagement; gross
waste of funds; abuse of authority; violation of law, rule or regulation;
and dangers to the public health and safety by the federal government. A VA
employee used this channel to report examples of patient neglect at Montrose
Hospital. As a result, OSC required the Secretary of the Department of
Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Togo D. West, to conduct an investigation
and report his findings to OSC. This is the report that OSC transmitted to
the President, along with a summary letter.
The VA’s report included the following documented
examples of substantial and specific danger to public health at the
- a Montrose employee assisting a patient to obtain illegal substances.
VA reports that the employee was suspended and is no longer
employed by the hospital.
- a one-day delay in searching for a missing patient. The patient was
eventually located, but was lost again approximately one year later
during a transfer to a different facility, and to date, remains missing.
VA reports that it has improved search procedures and made changes
regarding staff coverage of patients.
- a patient overdose of medication prescribed by a VA physician. VA
reports that improved prescription writing policies were instituted.
In addition to providing a secure channel for whistle
blowers, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel provides an independent avenue
to protect against prohibited personnel practices in federal employment. OSC
receives, investigates, and prosecutes before the MSPB, charges concerning
the commission of prohibited personnel practices, with priority given to