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VA director at Phoenix hospital got $9K bonus after 40 vets died from delays

- - Thursday, April 24, 2014

The director of the Phoenix VA hospital where at least 40 military veterans died from delays received more than $9,000 in bonus pay in 2013, public records show.

Last year, Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, got a $9,345 bonus, in addition to her annual base salary of $169,900. Overall, leadership at the hospital was paid more than $700,000 in taxpayer money, according to publicly available salary data.

CNN reported Wednesday that at least 40 patients have died at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System because of delays in treatment, and many of them were placed on a secret list to hide the wait times from officials in Washington.

According to internal emails obtained by CNN, top management at the Phoenix hospital, including Helman, was aware of the practice and defended it.

Chief of staff Darren Deering made a handsome $233,000.

Associate director Lance Robinson was paid $131,000

Associate director of patient care services Nancy Claflin was paid $141,000 in 2013.

Salary data was not available for assistant director John Scherpf.

"I am not aware of any secret list, nor did I direct staff to have a secret list," Helman told a local news channel on Friday.

Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have called for a Senate investigation of the Phoenix VA scandal.

The VA Office of Inspector General is scheduled to begin its own investigation next week.

• CJ Ciaramella is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. His Twitter handle is @cjciaramella. His email address is ciaramella@freebeacon.com.