2 officials fired at Memphis VA Hospital
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two top officials at the Memphis VA Medical Center in Tennessee have been fired amid multiple congressional investigations into the troubled hospital.
Susan Calhoun, former director of the hospital’s anesthesiology department, and Darryl Weiman, former head of surgery, were fired on Friday by director David Dunning, The Commercial Appeal reported .
VA officials said Calhoun and Weiman were fired for “failure to lead and act.”
Calhoun and Weiman had been temporarily reassigned during an investigation, which is now complete, the VA said. Weiman was a staff surgeon and Calhoun was a staff anesthesiologist while the investigation had been ongoing.
The firings come as the VA tries to improve accountability and transparency across the nation’s largest health network, VA press secretary Curt Cashour said.
The hospital has been subject to a number of investigations following allegations of poor care, including botched surgeries and biopsies, delays in urgent care and other issues. Threats to patient safety at the hospital also increased by 46 percent from 705 in 2015 to 1,032 in 2016.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee has also been investigating the hospital for months.
Calhoun’s attorney, Kevin Owen, said claims made by Dunning about Calhoun’s “performance and professionalism” were false and the decision to fire Calhoun will prove to be even more harmful to the veterans who use the hospital.
“Unfortunately Director Dunning is more interested in reporting a body count of employees he fired in the name of reform than actually improving the Memphis VA Medical Center,” Owen said.
Weiman could not immediately be reached for comment by The Commercial Appeal.
The moves came weeks after Dunning assumed his role permanently, becoming the first permanent director since early 2016.
Last week, the hospital again received the VA’s lowest ranking — 1 star out of 5. Two of the other three VA medical centers in the state also received that ranking.
Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com