- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on the sentencing of the former director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

The former director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System has been sentenced to 2 years of probation after pleading guilty to making false financial disclosures to the federal government about yearly gifts.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven Logan sentenced Sharon Helman Monday for failing to disclose more than $19,000 in gifts that included concert tickets, a car, roundtrip airfare and resort spa services.

Helman pleaded down to a single charge under a plea agreement reached with prosecutors prior to sentencing.

She was fired from her position as director in 2014 when whistleblowers disclosed to Congress that veterans seeking appointments faced delays of up to a year and that some had died while on secret wait lists.

Authorities first learned about Helman accepting gifts while investigating the wait lists.

9:55 a.m.

Arizona’s largest health care provider is partnering with the Phoenix VA Health Care System to provide outpatient surgical care for veterans at a Banner surgical center in central Phoenix.

Phoenix-based Banner Health says the partnership being announced Monday will expedite care by providing VA surgeons and anesthesiologists with an additional facility in which to perform surgeries.

Banner said a range of surgeries will be performed and that Banner clinical, technical and administrative will provide support.

9 a.m.

The former director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System is scheduled to be sentenced for her guilty plea to making false financial disclosures to the federal government about yearly gifts.

Authorities say Sharon Helman was accused of failing to list more than $50,000 in gifts she received from a lobbyist between 2012 and 2014.

A conviction for making a false statement to a government agency carries a maximum prison term of 5 years. But Helman entered a plea agreement and is expected to get probation at her sentencing Monday.

She was fired after whistleblowers disclosed to Congress that veterans seeking appointments faced delays of up to a year and that some had died while on secret wait lists. Subsequent investigations found that the VA in Phoenix had manipulated wait-time data.


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