Spokane VA responds to accusations against former director


by KREM.com


Posted on April 29, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 30 at 2:57 AM

SPOKANE, Wash--Officials at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center said a former director who was accused of falsifying records in Phoenix set a benchmark for accurate reporting practices during her time in Spokane.

The director of the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Phoenix, Sharon Helman, was in charge of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Spokane from 2008 to 2010.   

In April, accusations that Helman kept double books to hide dozens of veterans' deaths that happened under her watch prompted a federal investigation in Phoenix, AZ.

READ: Complete letter from the VA to KREM

WATCH: Former Spokane VA director accused of wrongdoing at Phoenix VA

Officials at the VA in Phoenix said Helman kept a secret list of 40 patients who died waiting for care. 2 On Your Side asked if there was ever a concern about patient delays while Helman was in Spokane. 

The VA issued a statement to KREM 2 News on Tuesday that said, “There was not a history of long waits for patients to get access to health care during Ms. Helman’s tenure.”

2 On Your Side learned that a previous investigation showed veteran suicides were miscounted at the Spokane facility.  Officials said that was not related to Helman’s record keeping.

“Helman was instrumental in developing more accurate reporting practices,” officials said in a statement. “Spokane became a benchmark for better record keeping and outreach.”