With a mandate from Congress in the VA Reform Act passed in August, the VA Secretary, Bob McDonald, has begun firing executives linked to its nationwide healthcare scandal.
Terry Gerigk Wolf, director of the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System, was fired this week, one month after having been found culpable of “conduct unbecoming a senior executive” and wasteful spending, evidently in connection with an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease in 2011 and 2012, resulting in the deaths of six patients attributable to bad water-quality at the hospitals.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and others in Congress have criticized McDonald for the slow pace of the firings of what are alleged to be many VA executives who are responsible for a variety of system failures. McDonald says that he has targeted 42 such executives for disciplinary action, but VA Deputy Sec. Sloan Gibson has explained that “the case law is very clear that we have to provide a reasonable opportunity (for VA executives) to respond to charges.” McDonald has stated, “We’ve got to make sure that every action we take sticks.” So far, 35 VA employees—not the executives who presided over the system—have been terminated for “concealing VA hospital backlogs.” Another thousand are under review for removal.
We’ll see how soon, and for what reasons, the VA terminates the executives who have been responsible for mismanaging a federal agency that is responsible for the healthcare, and often the lives, of America’s veterans.
Image via Wall Street Journal.