Not held responsible for the waiting lists or deaths.
The government agency charged with making sure federal employees are treated fairly upheld this week the Department of Veterans Affairs decision to “formally remove” Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Care System and the leader at the center of the biggest scandal in the agency’s history.But the ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board could not substantiate that Helman knew or should have known that employees at her hospital lied about health-care wait times for former troops seeking treatment for everything from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder.Instead, as the basis for upholding her removal, the judge named other charges against her by the VA, which said she accepted “inappropriate gifts,” such as a trip to Disneyland “in excess of $11,000 for what appears to be six of her family members for an 8-night stay,” and $729.50 for five tickets last year and parking to a Beyonce concert on Aug. 24, 2013.[…]In the ruling, Chief Administrative Judge Stephen Mish rejected the VA’s other charges, which said that Helman failed to see that veterans were waiting months or even years to get health care. But the judge said the VA failed to demonstrate any actions or inactions on the part of Helman that caused it.“To phrase it more colloquially, an agency must connect the dots of fault from the identified failure by the subordinates back up the line to the manager,” the judge wrote. “The agency did not attempt to do so here. Accordingly, this specification is not sustained.”Similarly, the VA said Helman failed to process 2,500 new claims that were found, which led hundreds of veterans to be without health care for more than a year. But the judge again said the VA did not provide enough information to the board.The ruling also points out that linking Helman’s removal to the wait-times issue is complex. The report notes that the VA’s office of the inspector general did not interview Helman about wait times during their investigation into the issue.
Thank You Stars and Stripes and Dapandico