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You're gone: VA moves to fire execs in health care scandal

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has taken steps to fire four senior executives for reasons ranging from unethical behavior to the misuse of VA resources.

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Pittsburgh.
Keith Srakocic | AP
A Veterans Affairs hospital in Pittsburgh.

The officials affected were a purchasing official at VA headquarters, executives at VA hospitals in Pittsburgh and Dublin, Georgia, and a regional director at a hospital in central Alabama. The two most recent actions were announced late Monday, while the first was announced Sept. 26.

As with previous punishments of VA employees, it was unclear whether the staff members were fired, or if they were leaving through retirement.

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Jeff Miller, put out a statement on Sept. 26 asking why the VA said it was firing the director of the hospital in Georgia when that executive had already announced his retirement beforehand.

The VA told CNBC on Tuesday that the director of the Georgia medical center retired the day after it proposed that he be terminated. "He will retire, but that does not preclude government action," a spokesperson said.

The VA identified the four as Susan Taylor, deputy chief procurement officer at agency headquarters in Washington; James Talton, director of the Central Alabama VA Healthcare System; John Goldman, director of the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia; and Terry Gerigk Wolf, director of the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System.

CNBC left a message at Taylor's office phone and called Goldman's cell phone and office but wasn't able to leave a message for him. The two others could not be located for comment.

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The problems at the VA were brought to light in a CNBC documentary, "Death & Dishonor: Crisis at the VA," which aired last November.

This summer, Congress passed a law designed to make it easier for the agency to fire officials suspected of wrongdoing. It also made it easier for veterans to get care outside of the VA's hospital network if they run into delays there.