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Former Cincinnati VA Chief Files Her Own Whistleblower Complaint


During a Thursday news conference, the attorneys of former Cincinnati VA Medical Center acting Chief of Staff Barbara Temeck, announced the Drug Enforcement Agency will not investigate their client for possible criminal prosecution involving pain pills she prescribed to her boss's wife.

In addition, her attorneys said she would file a whistleblower complaint over the retaliation of current and former staff.

She alleges nearly three dozen former and current staff members, who have complained both publicly and in a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald about cost-cutting moves and hospital safety,  are retaliating against her because they are being financially impacted.

Temeck attorney Ben Dusing says VA doctors were spending too much time doing surgery at other hospitals and Temeck told them they had to stop.

"Millions of dollars in care is being performed by institutions other than the VA pursuant to the Choice Act and if somebody raises their hand and says, hey we shouldn't do that, shocker, some people are not going to like that," Dusing said. 

The most recent Cincinnati VA problems came to light following an investigation from our news partner WCPO.

Dusing and attorney Ken Hawley say Temeck is not the villain of the story, but the hero.

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Dr. Barbara Temeck alleges she is being wrongly targeted, and under her leadership the Cincinnati VA was upgraded from a 3 star hospital to a 5 star one.

"Since 2013 she has been doing her job of trying to allocate the taxpayer dollars efficiently and sensibly and she's upset some people whose financial interest are being affected by that and they are coming after her," Hawley said. 

He says the hospital is safe.

"Like any hospital there are problems, there are issues. Dr. Temeck is trying to address what issues she can. But the veterans are absolutely safe there," Hawley said. 

Hawley says Temeck has received outstanding performance reviews in her 35 years with the government and the Cincinnati VA Medical Center is now a five star facility under her management. Since the complaints came to light Temeck has been reassigned to the basement, reviewing patient files, according to her attorneys.

The VA is investigating and has requested the Office of Inspector General open an additional independent investigation.

Officials of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center could not be reached for comment. 

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.