A St. Louis psychiatrist has told a Congressional committee how the Veterans Administration retaliated against him when he reported on distressing service to veterans.

Doctor Jose Mathews, the chief of psychiatry for the St. Louis VA Health Care System is a whistleblower, one of four to talk to the committee. He says he saw psychiatrists treating patients for an average of three-and–half hours a day. He also learned sixty percent of veterans who sought treatment gave up after being put off or poorly-treated.

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He says the hospital administration struck back when he complained by assigning him to a filing job.

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Mathews says he was told he was being investigated for creating a hostile work environment. Although he retains his title, he says, VA officials have taken away all of his administrative duties.

If there was one thing he’d change with the VA, he says, it would be creation of trustworthy data. But right now, says Mathews paraphrasing Mark Twain, “there are lies, there are damn lies, and there are VA statistics.”

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A top official with the VA has called the testimony “disheartening” and says it shows again the system is broken.