Kuauhtemoc “K-Rod” Rodriguez has worked for the VA since 2010. Before that he was an Army Officer for five years, including service in the Iraq War, and he has been an Air Force reservist for seven years. From 2015 to 2018, Mr. Rodriguez was the Chief of Specialty Care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS), where he supervised over 100 employees. Mr. Rodriguez has been tireless in his advocacy for veterans, when he has been stonewalled by VA leadership he has turned to the media, having appeared on national and local television, and online media.
In 2015, Mr. Rodriguez disclosed to Congress serious patient wait list improprieties used to hide hundreds of veterans waiting hundreds of days for consultations and other veterans dying while waiting for consults. In 2016, the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) substantiated Mr. Rodriguez’ allegations of improper patient wait list manipulations.
In 2017, Mr. Rodriguez used his expertise with the VA’s scheduling system to produce and disclose to Congress and OSC a report showing nearly 70,000 veterans waiting over seven days just to have their consults reviewed, in violation of VA policy. Mr. Rodriguez also produced and disclosed national reports for March 2017 showing over 400,000 consultative appointments that had been “open,” meaning the veterans had not received treatment, for more than 90 days. OSC quickly made a determination that there was a “substantial likelihood” that his reports merited investigation, and the VA Office of the Medical Inspector is investigating.
In response to his disclosures, the VA stripped Mr. Rodriguez of responsibilities, initiated a baseless criminal investigation of him, rescinded an offered promotion, proposed his reprimand, and threatened his banishment to a position with no supervisory duties at all. In 2017, the VA also subjected him to an Administrative Investigation Board.
In June 2018, with the assistance of Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, Mr. Rodriguez accepted a reassignment to the VA Central Office (VACO), away from the day-to-day mobbing and harassment that he had been subject to. He hopes to fully restore his career. He is presently pursuing accountability for the VA’s prohibited personnel practices before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).