ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – The chief medical officer for the Veterans Affairs’ health care network in Southern California and southern Nevada has been tapped to oversee operations in New Mexico.
The agency announced Friday the appointment of Skye McDougall as the acting director of the New Mexico VA health care system. She replaces Dr. Jamie Robbins, who will resume his permanent duties as the chief medical officer for the Southwest region.
VA officials say McDougall’s experience and leadership will be valuable assets as the health care system looks to improve access to care and the quality of care for veterans.
Following whistleblower complaints, investigators earlier this year uncovered large-scale improprieties in the way VA hospitals and clinics around the country scheduled veterans for appointments. Thousands of patients were forced to wait months for appointments.
While the list of patients waiting for appointments has been whittled down in New Mexico, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., said she’s disappointed the VA has yet to hire a permanent director.
Lujan Grisham said long-term reforms are needed to transform the system.
“I am hopeful that Dr. McDougall will begin the transformation, but I don’t believe the VA can win back the trust of veterans without bold, permanent leadership that is committed to reform,” the congresswoman said.