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Pearce’s plan to localize health services could reform VA

June 15, 2014 • Editorial

A few weeks ago as I was watching yet another report on the TV news about the unfolding scandal at the Veterans Administration in Phoenix, where a whistleblower has alleged that 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment, I couldn’t help but feel a little envious of Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix VA hospital.

In this news segment, a TV crew was stationed in the parking lot of the Phoenix hospital waiting for Helman to pull into the parking lot and then corner her on camera.

Helman pulled into the lot, but quickly turned around and sped off when she spotted the news crew.

I wasn’t envious of Helman because she got to be on camera, I’ve been on camera a few times myself. I was envious because of the car she was driving, a Mercedes-Benz roadster. Nice ride.

According to one car resale website, the market value for a 2013 roadster is around $53,000. I wish I could afford a car like that.

Helman, the flashy blonde in the flashy car, eventually drove back to the VA building and spoke to reporters in her office, giving typical bureaucratic “non answers” to all of their questions.

Helman, whose annual salary is $169,900, has been placed on administrative leave and was ordered to pay back a $9,345 incentive bonus, even as the hospital she oversees was being investigated over allegations that Arizona VA officials “cooked the books,” falsifying data on delays in doctor appointments that may have caused some veterans to die while awaiting Login to read more

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