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New Phoenix VA Director Starts Position, Hopes To Regain Veterans' Trust
The new permanent director of Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System started Monday. Deborah Amdur will be the first permanent director in more than a year and a half after the agency was shaken by a scandal about delays in patient care.
Since 2014, the agency has had three interim directors.
Amdur comes to Phoenix from the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont, where she was the medical center director.
One of her first goals will be to regain trust of veterans and change the culture, she said.
“It is extremely important that we create a culture of psychological safety," she said. "Where staff and veterans feel comfortable to raise issues and we take positive action to make changes.”
Another top priority is improving the Veterans Choice Program. The program, which was created last year, allows vets who live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility or have been waiting more than a month for an appointment to get care outside the system.
“We really have to continue to work at our partnership with TriWest and the Choice Program," she said. "Clearly the facility alone cannot meet all of the access needs and care needs of veterans in this area."
The Phoenix VA serves more than 80,000 veterans.