- Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A state board that licenses social workers has filed a complaint against an Indianapolis veterans medical center manager who made fun of suicide in an email.

The Indianapolis Star obtained the email sent Dec. 18 by licensed clinical social worker Robin Paul. Photos in the email sent to clinic staff show a toy Christmas elf posing as a patient, pleading for anxiety medication and hanging himself with an electrical cord.

The newspaper (https://indy.st/1BzHXmH ) reports it’s not clear whether the complaint from the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board is tied to the email, but it was filed the same day the newspaper disclosed the message. The board’s action is not public record.

Investigation of the complaint is up to the office of Attorney General Greg Zoeller. His office would decide whether to bring a case against Paul to the board.

If a violation is found, possible actions against Paul include having her license revoked, according to Indiana Professional Licensing Agency spokesman Nick Goodwin.

Paul was suspended Tuesday from her position at Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where she managed a transitional clinic that offered mental health and other services to returning veterans. She apologized for the email Monday in a statement.

“I would like to sincerely apologize for the email message and I take full responsibility for this poor judgment,” she said. “I hold all veterans and military personnel in the highest regard and am deeply remorseful for any hurt this may have caused.”

Local and national Veterans Affairs officials have called Paul’s email “completely unacceptable.” Some people want Paul fired, including U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.

VA officials are required to report employees to state licensing boards if their failure to “to meet generally accepted standards of clinical practice” raises concern for patients’ safety. Forms of “verbal abuse” such as “ridicule” meet reporting requirements set forth in federal regulations.

Julie Webb, a spokeswoman for Roudebush, declined to comment to the newspaper about the board complaint against Paul.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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