Bay Pines’ Suzanne Klinker speaks out, gives update on VA health care

Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, released the statement below. Read this editorial online at:

From Klinkler:

There has been a lot of discussion and media coverage of recent about the Commission on Care and the report the group released publicly that included recommendations for the future of VA health care. As VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald said on July 6, VA will continue to work with Congress, the Commission, other federal agencies and Veterans organizations as each recommendation is reviewed very closely.

Across the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, we are proud of the changes we have put in place to increase access to health care services and improve the quality of care. As the fourth largest VA healthcare system in the country, we served nearly 108,000 Veterans and completed more than 1.4 million outpatient appointments (about 4,000 appointments per day) across southwest Florida from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.  In addition, we provided nearly 31,600 authorizations for Veterans to receive care in the community in 2015 – a 40 percent increase in authorizations when compared to 2014. These numbers continue to trend up as we approach the end of fiscal year 2016.

Bay PInes photo/
Bay PInes photo/

During the month of June alone, the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System completed 78,543 appointments. About 98.7 percent of the appointments completed in June occurred within 30 days of the clinically indicated date or Veteran’s preferred date. This number continues to trend in a positive direction as we make progress with improving access.

Same day access to health care services is available. Emergency and urgent care services are available at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, as well as walk-in opportunities for primary care. In addition to primary care, same day access is also available through certain specialty care clinics to include mental health, cardiology and audiology.

Because of the continuous improvements we have achieved, we receive a tremendous amount of feedback from Veterans, their loved ones, and other stakeholders from an array of systems available to listen to “the voice of the customer.” Included in this feedback are compliments. To put this into perspective, in 2012 we received just over 100 compliments all year. The number of compliments we receive today versus just four years ago is remarkable, and we are on track to set a new record for compliments this year. Just this month, we surpassed 1,500 compliments for the fiscal year and still have several months left in this fiscal year. As a leader, this tells me that we are doing better today communicating with Veterans and making available appropriate systems for Veterans to voice feedback.

We are committed to maintaining and improving the trust and confidence Veterans have in the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and our ability to provide care that is grounded in VA’s core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence. As VA health care systematically improves across the country, the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will continue to provide safe, effective, high-quality health care to the men and women we have the honor and privilege to serve every day.


  1. Due to the severe retaliation I received at Bay Pines C.W. Bill Young VA, Mrs. Klinker, you sat across the table from me, with your VA lawyer, Tanya Burton, after 3 years of severely being retaliated against for reporting my 78 year old co-workers illegal abuse of overtime.

    Mrs. Klinker, you, your immediate staff, Asst. Director Kris Brown, and Chief of Staff Domonique Thurriere not only participated in the retaliation, but enforced and condoned it. Threatening to “terminate” me if I would not submit to physical and psychiatric evaluations.

    These actions were taken against me “after” I filed a police report against my department chief for his threats towards me in a back room, closing the door, and threatening to have me removed, fired, and evaluated.

    He threatened me only 3 days “after” I demanded EO and/or the Union come into my department due to the severity of my work environment. Union came in, and 3 days later, my department chief, Theodore Strickland, was threatening me.

    I was removed from my department.
    I was removed from my job.
    11 weeks in the Library.
    Physical evaluation.
    Psychiatric evaluation.
    Psychiatric ‘written’ eval.
    8 sessions with Employee Assistance counselor.
    9 mos in Dept Prosthetics
    9 weeks ordered off duty.
    3 mos Dept Education

    Absolutely “No” supporting documents to substantiate claims filed against me by my department chief. None.

    Mrs. Klinker, you sat directly across from me at one of our final meetings before you and your staff “broke” me.

    I told you I had jumped through all of your hoops, played all your games, I passed every one of your tests and evaluations.

    I requested to be returned to my job, to my department.

    Your Chief of Staff looked me directly in my eyes, Domonique Thurriere, and told me..”No, we will not return you to your job or department. We do not want you soending your time investigating your coworkers and your department. No. We will not return you.”

    Mrs. Klinker, today’s date is 12 OCT 2016.

    I am a Veteran.
    I am a VA patient.
    I am a prior VA employee.

    I live 4 miles from Bay Pines C.W. Bill Young VA.

    I transferred my care to the Tampa VA due to the corruption at Bay Pines.

    I live only 4 miles from Bay Pines and choose to travel 40 miles for my health care due to the corruption in your facility.

    My personal VA Medical records were accessed illegally throughout the years you and your staff retaliated against me.

    2 physicians illegally accessed my records coerting wirh my department chief. Endocrine Dr. Rhena Ahmin and Womens Care Dr. Laura Ann Harper both illegally accessed my records to help Dr. Strickland’s attempts against me.

    Dept if Prosthetics Secretary, Sandra Pardue illegally accessed my records to assist Asst. Director Kris Brown when she ordered me off duty.

    I just read your statement above….Suzanne Klinker.

    You are a Liar Ma’am.

    I’ve sat directly across from you….and looked you in your eyes. You areca Liar.

    Shame on you for putting yourself out to be the “Good Guy”, no Ma’am…you most definitely are not.

    I have current Bay Pines VA employees calling me to ask me for my help. Against you and yoyr staff.

    I demand your immediate resignation. Today. Immediately.

    Kris Brown
    Domonique Thurriere
    Tanya Burton
    Theodore Strickland
    Rhena Ahmin
    Sheri Meilus
    Colleen Debacker
    Bonnie Ruzicka
    Cecil Johnson
    Mark Rosas
    Ronald Plemmons
    Tonya Weick
    Clark Hazley
    Tatishka Musgrove

    I demand your Immediate resignations. You all were and are complicit in the acts of retaliation against the VA employeescand patients.

    1. I suggest you contact attorney Lee Blais who is representing several employees and former employees against Bay Pines for similar Acts. He is well aware of the systemic problem of reprisal and retaliation that exists at Bay Pines. His contact number is (401) 288-7324. Good luck to you, I suffered at their hands as well.

    2. i believe u they did it to me this does happen

  2. Google “Bay Pines Police” and read the various articles about this train wreck of a department.

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