updated 3/27/2007 6:15:04 PM ET 2007-03-27T22:15:04

The head of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services resigned in the wake of an inspection that found shortcomings in care provided by the state’s nursing home for military veterans, Gov. Janet Napolitano said Tuesday.

Napolitano’s announcement that she had accepted the resignation of Patrick F. Chorpenning came one day after she removed him from direct responsibility over the facility and ordered an immediate review of the home in Phoenix.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services penalized the state $10,000 on March 16 for substandard care conditions that were found during a routine inspection of the veterans home in February. The federal agency also threatened to pull the state home’s status as a Medicare provider unless conditions improved.

The nursing home provides long-term care to as many as 200 veterans. Most served in World War II or the Korean War.

Chorpenning, 60, said in his resignation letter he felt that “in light of what has taken place in the press,” it was in the governor’s best interest that he resign.

The February inspection report said some patients had gone without necessary bed care for long periods, staff members ignored patients’ activated call buttons, a patient had been left in soiled bedclothes and at least one patient’s cigarettes had burned her clothing.

“It’s a black eye on the state,” House Speaker Jim Weiers said Monday. He said legislators would investigate but it was apparent that Chorpenning should be fired or at least suspended.

Napolitano on Monday also asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate allegations of nepotism in hiring for the home. The allegations involve several relatives of Chorpenning, including his wife and son.

Chorpenning said in his resignation letter that he was certain the investigation would produce “complete exoneration of charges.”

Chorpenning did not immediately respond to a call to his office seeking comment Tuesday. No home phone is listed in the Phoenix area under his name.

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