DeFazio: Retaliation Still Happening at Roseburg VA

Congressman Peter DeFazio said he is still hearing about punishment and abuse against employees who speak out about local VAs.

Posted: Feb. 7, 2018 3:41 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio said he is still getting reports of retaliation against whistleblowers at the Roseburg VA and he wants something done about it.

There are multiple ongoing investigations into these issues. But, DeFazio said he is still hearing about punishment and abuse against employees who speak out.

In a letter to the VA Secretary, DeFazio said he is concerned about the peer review process among doctors being used to threaten and punish staff, and even former employees.

NewsWatch12's news affiliate in Eugene, KEZI 9 News,  interviewed Dr. Scott Russi in 2017. Russi said he was fired from the Eugene VA for speaking out about his concerns.

In January, DeFazio said then-director Doug Paxton told Dr. Russi the VA was going to send a negative peer review to the Oregon State Licensing Board.

DeFazio said there has already been enough evidence to show that negative claims about Russi are not true. DeFazio was able to convince VA leadership to not send the peer review, for the time being.

Five nurses also spoke to KEZI 9 News in November about retaliation and bullying they claim was happening at the VA.

DeFazio helped pass a whistleblower protection act into law last year, and he wants the VA to extend these protections to all VA employees.

This comes after several Roseburg VA leaders stepped down, including Director Paxton.

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