Second exec moved from scandal-plagued Altoona VA hospital

The scandal-plagued James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, Pennsylvania moves out a second executive in the wake of whistle-blower revelations on medical care quality.

The James E. Van Zandt VA Hospital in Altoona, Pa. (Public domain photo from the hospital's Facebook page)

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2016 — A second senior executive has been transferred from Altoona, Pennsylvania’s James E. Van Zandt Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center to the Memphis VA Medical Center in Tennessee. Both moves come after whistleblowers implicated the men for corruption at the Altoona Center.

Daniel Shea has been named the Acting Associate Director of the Memphis VA Medical Center, according to a statement provided by Andrea Young, Public Affairs Officer at the Altoona VA Medical Center:

“Mr. Daniel Shea is the Chief, Logistics Service at the Altoona VAMC. He has recently completed VA’s Healthcare Leadership Development Program for managers who wish to advance into leadership positions in the agency. He was recently detailed to the Erie VAMC as Acting Associate Director, has served as Acting Associate Director at the Altoona VAMC, and is now detailed for 30 days to the Memphis VAMC as Acting Associate Medical Center Director.”

OSHA cites VA for improper biohazard waste disposal

Shea follows William Mills who was the Altoona VA Medical Center Director and is now the Acting Medical Center Director at the Memphis VA Medical Center.

The Medical Center Director and Associate Medical Center Director are the top two positions at the hospital.

Both lateral moves come months after whistleblowers James DeNofrio and Tim Skarada implicated leadership at the Altoona VA Medical Center in reports published by the Office for Special Counsel (OSC). CDN published their allegations in March.

Shea questioned DeNofrio’s character and legitimacy according to internal documents related to the investigation: “Mr. Shea feels that Mr. DeNofrio functions beyond the scope of his position,” according to the investigation. “When Mr. Shea would attempt to respond to Mr. DeNofrio’s concerns and/or complaints Mr. DeNofrio would exclude Mr. Shea.”

Mills’ move was announced days after the OSC report was released while Shea was moved quietly weeks later first to the Erie VA Medical Center. His first day at the Memphis VA Medical Center was June 27, 2016, according to Willie Logan, Public Affairs Officer at the Memphis VA Medical Center:

“Effective today, (June 27) Mr. Daniel P. Shea, has assumed the role of Acting Associate Medical Center Director for the Memphis VA Medical Center.  Mr. William H. Mills has been serving in the role as Interim Medical Center Director for the Memphis VA Medical Center since February 26, 2016.”

The moves come as both hospital face scrutiny over patient care. Altoona VA Medical Center was implicated in a scandal in which a doctor’s errors were covered up by leadership while the Memphis VA Medical Center has faced a series of scandals including long wait times, leaving paraplegic patients unattended, and most recently improper disposal of bio-hazardous waste.

More problems at Memphis VA

While Shea is scheduled to only be at the Memphis VA Medical Center for a month according to Young’s statement, Sean Higgins, a Memphis VA Medical Center employee and whistleblower, is skeptical.

“When someone is detailed it’s for at least three months,” he said.

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