VA fires former DC medical director for a second time

The Department of Veterans Affairs has fired the former director of the Washington, D.C., medical center for a second time using new measures approved by Congress over the summer.

“We at VA will use the authorities available to ensure our veterans get the highest quality service and care possible,” VA Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinVA Secretary Shulkin seeks larger role for private health care We have a duty to take care of our veterans, but we're letting them die Supporting our veterans is a year-round job MORE said in a statement Wednesday. “This is the right decision for veterans in D.C., and employees at the medical center, and underscores our commitment to hold employees accountable if they fail to do their jobs or live up to VA’s values.”

Brian Hawkins was fired in July after it was revealed he had sent sensitive information to his wife's personal email account.

Prior to that, in April, he was removed from his post as director of the D.C. medical center and reassigned to administrative work after a scathing inspector general report found patients at the center were being endangered due to widespread management, inventory and staffing issues.

Hawkins appealed his July firing. Weeks later, the federal Merit Systems Protection Board halted the firing while they reviewed whether he was wrongly terminated.

At the time, Shulkin vowed find other ways to dismiss Hawkins.

“No judge who has never run a hospital and never cared for our nation’s veterans will force me to put an employee back in a position when he allowed the facility to pose potential safety risks to our veterans,” Shulkin said in an August statement.

In June, Congress passed and the president signed the VA Accountability Act to give the VA secretary more power to discipline or fire employees. The secretary can now fire or reprimand employees after a 21-day internal grievance process.

In line with the new rules, Hawkins was notified in late August that he was being proposed for removal, according to the VA.