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VA Hospital Scandal

Head of Troubled Phoenix VA Hospital Removed

The head of the Phoenix veterans' hospital at the center of the Veterans Affairs scandal was formally removed on Monday, VA Secretary Robert McDonald told NBC News.

Sharon Helman was at the center of a firestorm of whistleblower complaints earlier this year that exposed improper scheduling practices at VA Medical Centers in Phoenix and at other centers around the country. The outrage over allegations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care ultimately resulted in the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Helman had been on administrative leave since May.

The Inspector General's August report cited "serious conditions" in the Phoenix operations.

McDonald also told NBC News that a "lack of oversight and misconduct by VA leaders runs counter to our mission of serving veterans and the VA will not tolerate it."

Sec. McDonald also notes that more than since June 500 VA employees have been terminated and at 77 facilities, there are new leaders or leadership teams in place.

A new director will be named soon but until that time, Glenn Grippen, will serve as the interim director in Phoenix.

McDonald also note that the Merit System Protection Review board upheld the Department's termination of an Alabama official. McDonald notes that indicates the VA is using the proper system to review employee discipline.

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