The Department of Veterans Affairs fired Sharon Helman, the director of Phoenix veterans' hospital, the VA said in a statement Monday. Glenn Grippen was named the as the temporary head, NBC News said.
The VA has been plagued by a scandal involving the amount of time veterans had to wait to get medical help. It was reported 40 veterans died while they waited for care. Though Helman was dismissed Monday, she hasn’t been present for months. The former head of the hospital went on administrative leave in May, NBC News reported.
Helman being fired isn’t the first shake up the VA has seen. Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned and was replaced by Robert McDonald, someone who does not have any familiarity with government or medicine, but he apparently knows about the most important thing the VA needs right now: management. Helman's dismissal marks the fifth senior executive to be forced to resign or to have been fired the last few weeks, the Associated Press reported.
McDonald sat down for an interview with CBS's “60 Minutes” right before Veterans Day, and said as many as 1,000 people could be fired. Those who could potentially be dismissed do not meet standards, which are “integrity, it's advocacy, it's respect, it's excellence,” he told “60 Minutes.” “These are the things that we try to do for our veterans.”
Though Helman has not released an official statement since she was let go, McDonald had something to say. "Lack of oversight and misconduct by VA leaders runs counter to our mission of serving veterans, and VA will not tolerate it," McDonald said. "We depend on VA employees and leaders to put the needs of veterans first."
McDonald told NBC News more than 500 people have been fired since he assumed his position.
Sec. McDonald told me @DeptVetAffairs has terminated more than 500 employees since he was confirmed to head dept.
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) November 24, 2014
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