The G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., has had seven whistleblowers, the most at any of the Department of Veteran Affairs' 153 hospitals across the country, according to congressional sources and the Office of Special Counsel.
Dr. Phyllis Hollenbeck, who works at the VA in Jackson, is one of the whistleblowers. Her complaints included an allegation that she experienced pressure to sign prescriptions without the opportunity to see the patients in question. And she said the hospital is not properly staffed.
"Essentially everything that happens in primary care at the Jackson VA can be included under the umbrella of being unethical, illegal, heartbreaking, and life threatening for the veterans," Hollenbeck said at a House Committee on Veterans Affairs Congressional Hearing in Pittsburgh in September.
Many of her complaints were substantiated by the office of special counsel. Its findings in a Sept. 17 report said that 75 percent of the total primary care unit staff consisted of nurse practitioners, compared with an average of 25 percent for the VA. It also concluded that the center's policy of prescribing narcotics was inconsistent with federal law.
In a statement to CNBC, the VA said, "VA welcomes recommendations of the Office of Special Counsel as an opportunity to evaluate our programs and identify areas for improvement. They also said, "The concerns raised pertaining to primary care staffing are still under review."
But the VA's undersecretary of Health, Dr. Robert Petzel, has downplayed the problems at the Jackson center in April.
"There have been some public kerfuffles in the paper that don't in my mind reflect the Jackson VA facility," Petzel said at a town hall meeting at the hospital.