PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Brandon Coleman worked at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and was a whistle-blower to problems at the hospital. Now he's got a job at the Anthem Community Based Outpatient Clinic. He says he is ecstatic to be back to work, and he is ready to put this chapter of his life behind him.
"I wouldn't wish this hell on anybody, but I wouldn't change a thing," said Brandon Coleman.
Coleman was an addiction therapist at the VA and has been out of work for 18 months. In January of 2015, he was put on paid administrative leave after coming forward and speaking out about the problems at the Phoenix VA, specifically the lack of support for suicidal veterans.
"I got tired of walking veterans over to the emergency room after hours, because I did all my groups in the evening hours, and after I would walk them over and do a proper handoff they weren't being watched, and they would take off. They were eloping, and that's against every ethical principal there is when someone is deemed suicidal," said Brandon Coleman.
Coleman is a disabled vet himself and created a program called Motivation for Change. It helped provide vets who had been convicted of drug and alcohol-related felonies a second chance. Once Coleman was placed on leave, the program was canceled.
"They were able to get clean and sober, take advantage of VA benefits, start getting proper medical care and everything else, and become viable members of society again," said Coleman.
Since coming forward, Coleman has worked tirelessly to make positive changes in the VA, and he is hoping other whistle-blowers can come forward knowing they can too.
"They now have little things such as time locked doors, where if a veteran is suicidal and they're in the back, they used to be able just to walk out, now there is a timed lock door so now at least a va employee will have to look," said Coleman.
One of the qualifications for Coleman to settle was to bring his program back. That program is now back in the works, and Coleman says it will help vets all over the state and not just those in Phoenix.