Arlington, Va. – Sharon Helman, the former director of the Phoenix VA hospital where dozens of veterans died while they were on secret wait lists, was finally fired after 207 days on taxpayer-funded paid administrative leave. Sharon Helman’s removal from federal service comes months after multiple audits and Inspector General reports confirmed that Ms. Helman engaged in gross misconduct and also follows reports that Ms. Helman also may have manipulated patient data at other VA facilities going back to 2008.
Concerned Veterans for America had been tracking Helman’s time on paid leave with a live clock as part of its VA Accountability Project as a way to bring attention to the fact that the VA is still failing to hold bad managers accountable for their actions.
Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, issued the following statement in reaction to Helman’s termination:
“Through our VA Accountability Project, Concerned Veterans for America has fought to hold failing bureaucrats who have endangered the lives of America’s veterans like Sharon Helman accountable for their actions. While we are pleased that Ms. Helman has finally been fired, we are frustrated that it took 207 days to happen. The fact that it took so long to fire someone responsible for such grave wrongdoings speaks volumes about the culture at the Department of Veterans Affairs—an agency infected by corruption and void of transparency and accountability.
“Under her direction, employees at the Phoenix VA hospital were instructed to systematically falsify patient records and wait time data, and anyone who did not comply with these practices was punished. As a result of this manipulation and deceit, veterans—men and women who fought to protect our country so people like Sharon Helman can live free—died while Ms. Helman collected tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses and a six-figure salary.
“Sharon Helman is the poster child for VA dysfunction. Had she done the same thing in the private healthcare sector, she’d be fired immediately and probably face criminal charges. We hope that Ms. Helman’s termination is a signal that the Department of Veterans Affairs will begin to return to its mission of serving veterans, rather than protecting selfish bureaucrats only interested in serving themselves.”
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Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.