VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System director Terry Gerigk Wolf placed on administrative leave

The director of the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System was today placed on paid administrative leave "pending the completion of administrative actions related to the Legionella outbreak," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson decided to place Terry Gerigk Wolf on leave, spokeswoman Ramona Joyce said.

David Macpherson, chief medical officer for the regional VA since June 2007, has been named acting director, she said. As chief medical officer, Dr. Macpherson oversaw inpatient and outpatient clinical programs, along with research and education, according to the VA website.

Ms. Joyce said she had not heard of any action taken against others in Pittsburgh related to a Legionnaires' outbreak that infected at least 22 veterans, six of whom died over a 16-month period in 2011 and 2012. It is also unclear what other actions have or may be taken, she said.

"This is the first of several possible administrative actions that will be taken" against Ms. Wolf, Ms. Joyce said.

This comes more than a year after the VA's Office of Inspector General completed its investigation into the Legionnaires' outbreak in Pittsburgh.

"It did take awhile" to act, Ms. Joyce said. "But we had to do our due diligence" after the OIG completed its investigation.

The statement was released at 6:20 p.m., "literally within a few minutes of us finding out" about the secretary's decision, Ms. Joyce said.

"We want to be straight up, and as soon as we got [the decision], we wanted to get it out," she said.

Lexi Belculfine: or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc. First Published June 13, 2014 8:20 PM

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