UPDATE II: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers, for only $3.99, in which I dedicate chapter four entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko.
A source tells me that sometime yesterday afternoon the head of the Pittsburgh VA, Terri Wolf, held a meeting with the radiology department. At that meeting, Ms. Wolfe announced that effectively immediately Dr. Anna Chacko would be on indefinite administrative leave.
If you have been following my work, you need no more information but for those unfamiliar, here's a quick recap. Dr. Anna Chacko is the head of radiology at the Pittsburgh VA. She has been there since October of 2008. Almost immediately, staff in the radiology department began to complain about her behavior. They described her as tyrannical, a serial liar, she refused to do clinical work, and she created an environment of terror and split the department. In March of this year, an "investigative board" was formed. In April of this year, the board recommended that Dr. Chacko be removed. Dr. Chacko then challenged the results. She reached out to Congressman Brad Miller of North Carolina and on May 15th of this year, Congressman Miller sent a letter to General Eric Shinseki, the head of the VA. Weeks later, word came from General Shinseki's office to the Pittsburgh VA to keep Dr. Chacko in her post. She came back to work on August 1st, following a management class she attended.
I then tracked Dr. Chacko all throughout the country and found that her behavior at the Pittsburgh VA was part of a pattern of tyrannical behavior. In fact, I have begun to describe Dr. Chacko as a Psychopath. She worked for fourteen months in Butte, Mt. at St. James Hospital and was involved in four lawsuits and turned a radiology department seven figures in the black into one in the red. She was forcibly removed from Lahey Clinic, where she spent about six years, by security and screamed, "kiss my big Indian ass" on her way out. Many questions remain about all sorts of previous employers including a twenty year military career.
I began writing about Dr. Chacko nearly four weeks ago and so it's unclear what, if any, influence my series has had on this decision. It may or may not be a coincidence that the announcement came less than a day after this piece was posted. At the least, it affirms what I have written. A source also tells me that Dr. Chacko has made veiled threats to sue me. That's to be expected. Dr. Chacko sues in a serial manner. She left Lahey Clinic and a lawsuit settled her departure. One former colleague told me they had a lawyer on retainer during most of their tenure with Dr. Chacko. As I mentioned, Dr. Chacko is involved in no less than four lawsuits in Butte. (not all name her specifically, though two do, but all have her as a principle in evidence) In fact, most, if not all, of her previous employers have settled with Dr. Chacko and that settlement often includes an agreement for both sides to remain quiet. I would point out that any lawsuit against me would give me license to subpoena nearly everything related to all her prior employment endeavors.
It's also important to note that when Dr. Chacko left in April of this year, the language used by management to describe her departure is nearly identical to that used now. Since an "indefinite administrative leave" is so nebulous, Dr. Chacko could never come back to the Pittsburgh VA or she might be back to work on Monday. It's also important to note that her line and voice mail at the VA still work. Because the VA is guarded with "personnel matters", it will be difficult to get any information. The radiology staff was told little besides that effectively immediately Dr. Chacko was on indefinite administrative leave. So, it's not yet clear if this was a local decision, a regional one, or if this decision came from General Shinseki's office directly. I can confirm, however, that formal complaints were made about Dr. Chacko since her return on August 1st and those complaints reached all the way to Michael Moreland, the regional director of the VA that includes this Pittsburgh VA.
That said this story is far from over. If her administrative leave is buried, she will pop up elsewhere and you can bet that she will behave the same way. The entire process has been corrupted. The Pittsburgh VA tried to remove her and they were trumped by the head of the VA. It's unusual, to say the least, for the head of the VA to make a hiring/firing decision for one individual doctor at one individual hospital. Now, the decision has been reversed again. In fact, Dr. Chacko should have never been hired at the Pittsburgh VA to begin with. Her work history, had it been properly examined, should have clearly shown a doctor that had no business at the Pittsburgh VA. So, either someone didn't do their due diligence, or the process didn't allow for proper due diligence. In fact, Dr. Chacko's entire career raises serious questions about numerous legal, whistleblowing, and medical procedures. None of those will be answered if Dr. Chacko's removal is quietly buried and she is simply allowed to surface elsewhere.
UPDATE: The latest information confirmed to me so far is that the administrative board has convened their investigation. I have no information on the results of their investigation. This is, however, the second such board that has investigated Dr. Chacko at the Pittsburgh VA. I have been assured by a source with a great deal of knowledge of the situation that the chances that Dr. Chacko would be allowed back to the Pittsburgh VA are extremely minimal.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"