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Phoenix VA Appoints Seventh Director in Three Years

By Concerned Veterans for America

New Pick Has History of Mismanagement

Phoenix, AZ – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) just named a controversial new director with a history of incompetence to its Phoenix VA Medical Center. RimaAnn Nelson will join Phoenix from a small VA clinic in the Philippines, where she was sent after a series of mismanagement incidents during her time as director of the St. Louis VA.

A VA Office of Inspector General report verified that under Nelson’s leadership in St. Louis, 1,812 patients were potentially affected in 2010 by dirty medical equipment over a period of several months. These patients faced possible exposure to hepatitis and HIV infections.

Nelson is now the seventh director during the past three years to enter a revolving leadership door at the Phoenix VA. Her predecessors include Sharon Helman, who became director in 2012, was suspended in May 2014, and later fired and convicted of failure to disclose gifts.

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Arizona State Director Matt Dobson issued the following statement:

“It’s no surprise that Nelson’s appointment is already under fire by local policy makers. Why the VA decided to appoint yet another director with a failed track record – especially at the scandal-ridden Phoenix VA – simply defies common logic. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. The VA’s decision-making when it comes to hiring leadership is just that—insane. Veterans deserve leaders with proven track records of success, not demonstrable failure.”

It’s been well over two years since the Phoenix VA wait list scandal was revealed in April 2014. Since then, despite tens of billions of dollars in additional funding for the VA, wait times for health care have gone up at many VA hospitals and there are still regular reports of misconduct within the agency.  

 CVA supports the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act, which would make it easier to fire bad employees who aren’t doing their job to ensure veterans receive timely and quality care.