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State suspends VA manager who made fun of suicide

March 23, 2015

The Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Board on Monday suspended the social work license of an Indianapolis veteran's medical center manager who sent a derisive email about suicide to clinical staff.

Photos in the email that Robin Paul sent in December show a toy Christmas elf posing as a patient, pleading for anxiety medication and hanging himself with an electrical cord.

The board voted Monday to accept a 90-day suspension of Paul's license, as agreed by Paul and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose staff will decide whether to recommend further disciplinary action. The board could reprimand Paul or order fines, probation, suspension or permanent revocation of her license.

"This license holder's action displaying insensitivity toward the mental health of our veterans and service members constitutes a breach of professional conduct," Zoeller said. "This behavior was particularly disturbing coming from a manager of a VA clinic, whose job it is to serve our Hoosier heroes when they may be most vulnerable."

Paul last week apologized for her email, saying she took full responsibility for her poor judgment.

"I hold all veterans and military personnel in the highest regard and am deeply remorseful for any hurt this may have caused," she wrote.

Paul already was suspended 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.

Paul could not be reached for comment because there was no telephone listing for her. She previously said she agreed to the 90-day suspension to avoid any further stress during the investigation.

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