ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Dr. Jose Mathews, St. Louis’ VA whistleblower who says he was harassed and hazed by his colleagues, received some encouragement from VA secretary Sloan Gibson today.

“Retaliating against whistleblowers is against the law,” Gibson says. “We’re going to obey the law. Period.”

Gibson, at the Veterans for Foreign Wars conference downtown, says the VA needs a behavior correction.

“I learned in the private sector, the most important source for informationideas for innovation and continuous improvementare your employees,” he says. “If we’re working to create better outcomes for veterans, the last thing we want to do is to create an environment where people are afraid to raise their hand.”

Sloan says he has frozen hiring at VA central offices and he’s suspended all senior performance awards for this year. He says more than half a million veterans have been referred to private care, though he doesn’t consider that a sustainable solution.

Sloan also says he’s made 12 visits to VA medical centers across the country. He will visit the John Cochran facility in St. Louis later today.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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