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Tampa's Director to Help Troubled Phoenix VA

Oct 10, 2014

Youth volunteer Mairyn Harris, 14, and Kathleen Fogarty, director of James A. Haley VA Medical Center, summer 2014.
Credit Tessa Wiseman / WUSF Public Media

The new Secretary of Veterans Affairs has temporarily assigned Kathleen Fogarty, the director of Tampa's James A. Haley VA Medical Center, to help restore trust and transparency at one of the most troubled VA networks that oversees the Phoenix VA hospital.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Fogarty was tapped by Bob McDonald to run the Veterans' Administration Southwest  Healthcare System, a network of five hospitals in Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas and parts of Colorado and Oklahoma.

“I think that we have to be very veteran-centric and very centered on our mission,” said Fogarty. “That is really what I am focused on. How to get through to an organization that has gone through pretty difficult times being centered on its core mission.”

Fogarty has been head of the Tampa VA hospital and the Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center for more than three years. She told the Tribune that her new assignment, while temporary, is expected to last at least three months or longer and start Nov. 17.

It will be her first time after 31 years with the VA that she will be in charge of an entire network. And it's the network responsible for the troubled Phoenix VA hospital where delays in health care contributed to patient deaths and administrators are accused of taking retribution against whistleblowers.