USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

In two years, in­ter­nal records ob­tained by USA TO­DAY show, the De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs spent nearly $6.7 mil­lion to se­cretly set­tle cases with prob­lem em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als ac­cused of neg­li­gence or mis­con­duct who were al­lowed to re­sign with clean ref­er­ences:

126 cases in which the VA agreed to re­scind fir­ing or­ders and al­lowed em­ploy­ees to re­sign or re­tire in­stead.

82 cases in which the VA said it would purge neg­a­tive records from work­ers’ per­son­nel files.

75 em­ploy­ees

who se­cured neu­tral ref­er­ences from the VA, hid­ing po­ten­tial mis­con­duct from fu­ture em­ploy­ers.

70 em­ploy­ees who agreed not to ap­ply to VA hos­pi­tals for years or, in some cases, for life.

38 cases that in­cluded con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses bar­ring dis­clo­sure of terms.

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