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VA Removes Shreveport Medical Center Director Over Misconduct

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Published on: April 30, 2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has fired Toby Mathew from the position of Shreveport VA medical center director after transferring him to another facility in a non-supervisory role.

Aaron Robison, an attorney at the VA’s Office of General Counsel, stated that Mathew was removed from his position on April 13 “based on charges related to general misconduct, and failure to follow policy and provide effective oversight of the Center’s credentialing and privileging program,” in a legal memo obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

TheDCNF also obtained numerous complaints lodged against Mathew back in September 2016. Those complaints, sent by an anonymous employee to David Shulkin, then-undersecretary for health, former VA Secretary Robert McDonald and other top officials at the department detailed more than two dozen allegations of misconduct against Mathew.

“It is the combined opinion of a significant group of senior staff including both clinical and administrative service chiefs that the situation here has reached the point where action is required,” read one of the complaints from Sept. 2, 2016. “I am requesting and strongly suggesting that Mr. Mathew be put on leave effective on receipt of this document, while you investigate these charges.”

“This man displays ALL the signs and symptoms of someone suffering from extreme, malignant narcissism,” the complaint continued.

It’s unknown which specific allegations prompted the VA to make its final determination to remove Mathew on April 13.

Robison added in the memo that it’s likely Mathew will try and appeal the action, as is common with senior executives who are removed from top positions at the agency.

The memo, dated April 14, comes after the VA reassigned Mathew on February 1 to the VISN 16 office in Missouri, while the Office of Accountability Review completed an investigation into serious allegations about his oversight of the Overton Brooks VA medical center in Shreveport, Louisiana.

At the time, the VA stated that “we promptly and thoroughly investigate all allegations of serious misconduct and, where such allegations are substantiated, observe all due process while we discharge our solemn duty to maintain the efficient and effective operation of the VA.”

But such a promise rang hollow to social worker Shea Wilkes, a well-known whistleblower at the Shreveport VA, who told USA Today in February that “Instead of disciplining leaders, it’s a time-honored tradition to move them to different positions of authority at different VA facilities across the country.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday establishing a new office at the VA to hold wayward employees accountable and protect whistleblowers suffering retaliation as a result of their disclosures. This office, unlike the Office of Accountability Review which just focuses on senior executives, has all employees under its purview.

The VA originally appointed Mathew as director at the Shreveport VA in December 2014.

Neither Mathew, nor the VA responded to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation by press time.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

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