The embattled director of the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Healthcare system was formally fired Thursday, the second high-ranking VA administrator to be dismissed under new employment authorities granted by Congress.
Terry Gerigk Wolf had been suspended from the post since June, as officials investigated her handling of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak in 2011. Over 16 months, 22 veterans were sickened and six died from the disease.
Last month, the VA Office of Accountability Review recommended her firing after finding "conduct unbecoming a senior executive."
Lawmakers and veterans advocates had been critical of her response to the outbreak, accusing her and other senior officials in the system of covering up evidence of human error and neglect.
In a statement, officials said Wolf's firing "underscores VA's commitment to hold leaders accountable and get veterans the care they need."
VA Secretary Bob McDonald has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for not dismissing more senior executives in the wake of nationwide patient wait times scandals.
In particular, critics have focused on the continued employment of former Phoenix VA system director Sharon Helman, on administrative leave more than six months while investigations continue into allegations that she gamed patient wait time records to protect administrative bonuses.
McDonald has insisted that he cannot act before criminal and outside administrative investigations are completed, but has promised to move promptly as soon as he can.
But lawmakers have disputed that claim, and accused McDonald's slow action of allowing employees to retire and resign without formal reprimand.
Earlier this week, McDonald said disciplinary actions are pending against more than thre dozen VA officials, and more than 1,000 other employees could face some sort of punishment.
In a statement, House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., called Wolf's firing "a positive step" but said other Pittsburgh officials responsible for outbreak failures still remain on the job.
"This action falls fall short of what's needed to provide closure to the veterans and families struck by an outbreak that VA failed to stop and actively hid from the public," he said. "VA still has a lot to learn about honesty, integrity and accountability, and this action doesn't change that fact."