The Phoenix Veterans’ Affairs Health Care System has fired three senior officials after national outrage over veterans’ wait times there, according to a new report.
Associate Director Lance Robinson, Chief of Health Administration Service Brad Curry and Chief of Staff Dr. Darren Deering were terminated Wednesday, according to The Washington Examiner.
“We have an obligation to veterans and the American people to take appropriate accountability actions as supported by evidence,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said in a statement. “While this process took far too long, the evidence supports these removals and sets the stage for moving forward.”
Gibson’s statement said all three officials were fired in part due to “negligent performance of duties.”
The trio also failed to “provide effective oversight” for veterans to get properly scheduled for medical appointments or placed on appropriate wait lists.
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) on Wednesday praised the decision as justice long overdue after roughly two years of inaction.
“This decision is the right one for veterans and taxpayers,” said Miller, the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in a statement. “Deputy Secretary Gibson is right in saying the process took ‘far too long.’”
“Though long-overdue, the removal of those who contributed to the lack of leadership at the Phoenix VA sends a clear message that misconduct and mismanagement will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.
Reports first emerged in April 2014 that Phoenix VA management kept a secret waiting list to hide delayed medical care for military veterans, sparking a string of scandals and high-profile resignations.
As many as 40 patients may have died while waiting for medical treatment, prompting public outcry over the VA system and how it cares for patients.