Top VA official in Ohio forced out

The top U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official in Ohio retired today after preliminary findings from a pair of probes concluded with recommendations that he be removed from federal service.

Jack Hetrick, director of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 10 — which oversees VA centers across Ohio — received a notice of pending removal today, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA also suspended Barbara Temeck, acting chief of staff at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, where concerns were first raised that led to the investigations and Hetrick's removal.

“We are committed to sustainable accountability,” Sloan Gibson, deputy VA secretary, said in a statement. “We will continue to use VA’s statutory authority to hold employees accountable where warranted by the evidence. That is simply the right thing to do for veterans and taxpayers.”

While investigators did not substantiate allegations pertaining to patient quality and timeliness of care, VA officials say they did find misconduct related to Temeck prescribing medication and other medical care to members of Hetrick’s family.

A criminal investigation may follow, according to the VA.

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