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Phoenix VA officials put on leave after denial of secret wait list

Phoenix VA officials put on leave after denial of secret wait list
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 5:17pm

The director of the Phoenix VA and two others have been "placed on administrative leave until further notice" amid allegations that delays in care caused the deaths of U.S. veterans at the facility, the federal agency's top official announced Thursday evening.

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki explained in a statement that he moved against Sharon Helman, the Phoenix VA's director, and two others "in view of the gravity of the allegations and in the interest of the Inspector General's ability to conduct a thorough and timely review."

"We believe it is important to allow an independent, objective review to proceed," Shinseki said.

"These allegations, if true, are absolutely unacceptable and if the Inspector General's investigation substantiates these claims, swift and appropriate action will be taken."

The decision comes a day after CNN aired a story about the situation in Phoenix VA.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Helman and her chief of staff, Dr. Darren Deering, denied any secret effort to cover up or hide wait times.

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