There's a changing of the guard at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Leslie Wiggins is the new director of the embattled veterans' hospital.
In the wake of two scathing reports, Wiggins made it clear what her priority is just three hours into her first day on the job on Monday.
"The number one for me is mental health services. So, I am very concerned. I will go through that organization top to bottom, take in what I can and apply my own leadership judgment and decision-making to that," Wiggins said.
The VA Office of Inspector General audits blamed mismanagement for the deaths of three veterans and said mental health patients fell through the cracks because the hospital or its contractors did not adequately track them.
"What I plan to do is to make sure we shore up all the systems and processes in this organization and, hopefully, we won't have such tragedies," Wiggins said.
The reports also said ineffective patient care management and oversight caused problems with mental health care access.
Elijah Williams, the union rep for workers at the VA Hospital hopes that things will improve under Wiggins' leadership.
"I think that she is coming in and saying all the right things, and she promised us that she will have the town hall meetings not only with the employees but also with the veterans organizations," said Williams.
Many of the veterans who rely on the hospital hope that a new director will increase staffing and improve the quality of care.
"Well, the only issue is that a lot of veterans come here. So, it's generally a long wait," said Sharon Hailey, a U.S. Army veteran.
Wiggins is a 21 year Veterans Affairs employee, who began her career as a nurse. She says she will study the VA audits in her first 30 days before making any decisions about changes at the hospital.
KDFW FOX 4
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