The Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Roseburg.

The federal Office of the Medical Inspector has demanded changes from the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, including removing some managers, a summary report reveals.

The report follows an investigation into alleged whistle-blower retaliation and clinical concerns at the Roseburg VA. The investigation was requested by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, who said he had been contacted by hundreds of current and former employees alleging problems with VA management.

A brief, two-page summary of the Blue Cover Report, dated Wednesday, and received by The News-Review Thursday, said investigators looked into seven allegations and substantiated six of them.

Investigators visited the Roseburg VA, and the Eugene VA clinic which it runs, in October, November and December. They interviewed 131 present and former employees, according to the report summary. The report said investigators found Roseburg VA senior leadership had created an environment of intimidation, an apparent confirmation of multiple anecdotal reports of bullying and whistle-blower retaliation. Chief of Surgery Dinesh Ranjan, who had been the focus of some allegations of bullying and retaliation, stepped down about a month ago, followed shortly afterward by Director Doug Paxton.

Other substantiated allegations listed in the report involved radiology practices that impacted timely and accurate results; inadequate supplies and resources identified by nursing staff; mismanaged cardiology consultations; “suboptimal utilization” of Eugene operating rooms; and clinical and leadership concerns in the acute psychiatric unit. The items are presented in list form, without details.

A complaint about access to primary care was said to be partially substantiated, while a claim that a surgeon had been improperly terminated was not substantiated. The surgeon was not named.

The OMI made 22 recommendations for changes at the Roseburg VA, and said the facility leadership must develop action plans to meet those recommendations. The OMI will monitor the VA until all the action items are completed, the report said. It also issued recommendations to the regional network that oversees Roseburg.

Among the OMI’s recommendations is that three associate chiefs of staff be removed from supervisory responsibilities, and that the chief of mental health nursing be removed from supervisory duties. The report also calls on the regional network, VISN 20, to “investigate the Chief of Staff concerning actions related to the hostile work environment,” and to “provide immediate support for the replacement of three Associate Chiefs of Staff.”

It calls for the Roseburg VA to perform a root cause analysis study into the death of a veteran who was diagnosed with frostbite. Another root cause analysis is called for on a case identified only as having been “described in the Report.”

A number of recommendations involve radiology. Some of those include refining standard operating procedures, standardizing methods to communicate clinically significant findings, and following national practice standards.

It also calls for assigning an experienced clinician to oversee the psychiatric unit and for evaluating after-hours coverage by a telepsychiatrist.

DeFazio issued a written statement Thursday afternoon, in which he said the OMI recommendations will lead to significant improvements, not only at the Roseburg VA, but at VA hospitals around the country.

“I’m pleased to see that the VA has substantiated the numerous claims employees, patients and former staff have raised with my office,” DeFazio said. “The recommendations laid out in the summary are only the beginning, though — I will continue to work with stakeholders on the local, regional and national levels to ensure these recommendations are implemented and Oregon’s veterans and veterans nationwide get the care they deserve.”

DeFazio said the VA has “suffered from years of mismanagement,” and it’s “long past due that the VA implements lasting, meaningful change.”

VA Interim Director Dave Whitmer said the VA appreciates the OMI’s review.

“While OMI found a number of opportunities for improvement, we welcome the scrutiny and consider this an opportunity to redouble our efforts to serve Veterans,” he said in a written statement. “The Roseburg VA Health Care System is under new leadership and on a new path, and we look forward to working with Veterans, community stakeholders and local and national VA leaders in order to complete all of OMI’s recommendations.”

Susan Neeley May, who had alleged Ranjan bullied her while she worked as a VA clerk, said when she visited the VA a week and a half ago she saw a marked change in the employees’ morale.

“The atmosphere at the VA is completely different,” she said. “Employees are happier, they’re more relaxed, everybody was coming up and saying thank you for helping in this fight. And everybody’s really hopeful that the atmosphere is actually going to change.”

Douglas County Veterans Forum President Larry Hill reviewed a copy of the report summary and said he found it evenhanded.

“I’m satisfied with this report. That’s my personal opinion. I’m not speaking for the organization on this, but I’m pretty satisfied with it,” Hill said.

A full report from the OMI is expected in the near future. The VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection also sent investigators to the Roseburg VA, and is expected to produce a separate report.

The OMI called for the chief of mental health nursing to be removed from supervisory responsibilities, following an investigation by the Office of Medical Inspector. The title used in the OMI report, which we previously used in this story, appears to have caused confusion about which position was involved.

React to this story:


Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(6) comments


Officers and enlisted: masters and slaves. The VA is for the enlisted man, intimidated and coerced from boot camp on to believe he is a worthless maggot. The VA provides the medical care a slave deserves. What we are seeing here in Roseburg can best be understood in terms of a slave rebellion. That is good.

Anonymous 80

While telehealth has been established. The telehealth Doctor has quit. Causing mental health to not be able to help patients in need of mental health issues.


The Roseburg VA and VISN 20 simply cannot resist the temptation to participate in deception. While it's true publicly the VA has announced that Dinesh Ranjan has stepped down, one would have to ask what does that mean. That he literally made a step down a stairway. Well, that's apparently exactly what it means. Mr. Ranjan is still wandering the halls of the Roseburg VA, doing peer reviews on employees (so further retaliating against employees when his own skill as a reviewer should be legitimately questioned-remember the "outdated colonoscopies?") and making decisions that affect Roseburg VA employees. He has been given another plush office in a desirable building right there on campus. You veterans may think you've had an impact but you have not. It will require more work if you really want this toxic administrator and his family members removed from influencing Roseburg and veteran care. What does Mr. Whitmer consider "redoubling?" Does that mean Mr. Ranjan gets two offices instead of one? Looks like that's exactly what it means. The snoozing cardiologist is still there walking the halls as well even though by their own admission there are problems with cardiology at both facilities. Perhaps his office will be "redoubled" with appropriate sleeping quarters. It's true employees were feeling better until the chief of surgery was seen walking the halls as if nothing has changed. Do you have any idea how demoralizing that is for employees? Especially employees this person has abused, retaliated against, and had their careers ruined due to this "outdated" surgeon. And now, he is allowed to continue in that role while the VA lies to the public and the veterans. Wake up people and veterans. You know how you can tell the VA is lying? Their representative's lips are moving.


NR, seems I read a report that some head honcho at the Roseburg VA was transferred to West Virginia. Is this correct? And if so is this how the VA solves its problems, i.e., by shuffling the bad people around? Reminds me of how the Catholics sent pedophile priests to a different parish.


It is exactly the same, exactly. And as for your question about West Virginia. The fine congress members of West Virginia wouldn't take the trash from Roseburg. The VA is hiding the disgraced director somewhere but he's sure to reappear somewhere.


The VA is a huge pit of other peoples' money. Telepsychiatrists collecting overtime sounds like a scheme that would create envy in some other medical workers that have real work involved in doing their jobs and yet are payed less for their efforts.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.