- Associated Press - Thursday, August 21, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Southeast Network Director of the Veterans Administration announced a leadership shakeup for the embattled Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System.

Regional VA director Charles Sepich said in a statement the facility’s director, Charles Talton, and his chief of staff, Cliff Robinson, have been put on administrative leave.

The move comes after a federal audit highlighted long wait times for veterans looking for care at facilities operated by the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System in Montgomery and Tuskegee.

The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System has also been accused of several systemic issues, including altering appointment records to mask how long veterans waited for appointments and not reading hundreds of X-rays.

Individual employees have recently been accused of taking a patient to a crack house to buy drugs and a 44-year-old VA worker is also accused of sexually abusing a volunteer at the Tuskegee facility.

Sepich said VA officials are taking a closer look at the facility’s operations and are working to maintain veterans’ trust.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who has been critical of the facility’s leadership told the Montgomery Advertiser the leadership change could be a positive step, even if it’s only temporary.

“It’s about accountability and responsibility, but it’s also about getting our veterans who need health care right now access to the best quality care we can give them,” Roby told the newspaper. “You can’t get a solution until you completely recognize the problem. But again, this is a step in the right direction.”

Robin Jackson has been named acting medical center director and Srinivas Ginjupalli has been named acting chief of staff.

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