The director of the Phoenix VA hospital, as well as two other officials, have been “placed on administrative leave until further notice.” The move comes after reports have surfaced claiming that the Phoenix VA has kept a secret wait list, which has allegedly prevented veterans from getting access to required tests and treatment, leading to dozens of deaths. The secret wait list was disclosed from a retired VA doctor in Phoenix. Officials at the hospital have denied that any such list exists.
The director of the Phoenix VA and two others have been “placed on administrative leave until further notice” amid allegations that delays in care caused the deaths of U.S. veterans at the facility, the federal agency’s top official announced Thursday evening.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki explained in a statement that he moved against Sharon Helman, the Phoenix VA’s director, and two others “in view of the gravity of the allegations and in the interest of the Inspector General’s ability to conduct a thorough and timely review.”
“We believe it is important to allow an independent, objective review to proceed,” Shinseki said.
“These allegations, if true, are absolutely unacceptable and if the Inspector General’s investigation substantiates these claims, swift and appropriate action will be taken.”
The decision comes a day after CNN aired a story about the situation in Phoenix VA.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Helman and her chief of staff, Dr. Darren Deering, denied any secret effort to cover up or hide wait times.