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Phoenix VA Hospital Director, Two Others Placed On Leave

(Photo via Phoenix VA Health Care System)
Sharon Helman

Three officials at the veteran’s hospital in Phoenix have been placed on administrative leave.  The order comes as the federal government investigates as many as 40 unnecessary deaths at the hospital.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said the officials include director Sharon Helman and associate director Lance Robinson.  Shinseki has not identified the third employee.

The Phoenix Veterans Health Care Center has been under fire over allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delays in care.  There are also reports that to hide delayed treatment, the hospital kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments.

In an interview with CNN this week, Helman said she’s cooperating with investigators.

"Those allegations are ones that the office of inspector general are reviewing right now.  When we heard about this during the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee was the first time we had heard about those allegations and that is why we asked the office of inspector general to come in and do a thorough and impartial review” Helman said to CNN.

Shinseki said the officials were put on leave as requested by the inspector general looking into the allegations. Three members of Arizona’s congressional delegation have called for Helman’s resignation. 


KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.