Share This Page

VA overseer sent to Phoenix

| Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 8:12 p.m.

PHOENIX — President Obama's choice to help carry out reforms at the Veterans Affairs Department will travel to Phoenix this week to meet with staff at the local VA office as pressure mounts in Washington for an overhaul of the beleaguered agency.

Obama announced last week that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors would be assigned to the VA as a result of allegations of delayed care that may have led to patient deaths and a cover-up by top administrators in Phoenix. Similar claims have been reported at VA facilities in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Florida and elsewhere.

Nabors was meeting on Tuesday in Washington with representatives of several veterans' organizations, including the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans, among others. He will meet on Thursday with officials at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Medical Center, including with interim director Steve Young, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Young took over in Phoenix after director Sharon Helman was placed on leave indefinitely while the Office of Inspector General investigates claims raised by several former VA employees that Phoenix administrators kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care.

A former clinic director for the VA in Phoenix first came out publicly with the allegations in April. Dr. Samuel Foote, who retired in December after nearly 25 years with the VA, says that up to 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix hospital. Investigators say they have so far not linked any patient deaths in Phoenix to delayed care.

The allegations have sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill and some calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation. The VA's undersecretary for health care, Robert Petzel, has stepped down.

Republicans denounced the move as a hollow gesture, since Petzel had been scheduled to retire.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.