Former VA exec during disease outbreak asked to stop working



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PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former regional director who helped oversee the Pittsburgh VA during a Legionnaires' outbreak has been asked to stop working under a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Department spokesman James Hutton said in a statement Wednesday that Michael Moreland, who has been representing Shipcom Wireless in a management contract with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, visited a VA campus in Pittsburgh on May 1.

But Moreland isn't allowed to represent non-federal parties before the VA until at least two years after his November 2013 retirement from the hospital system, Hutton said.

Moreland visited the Pittsburgh campus as part of Shipcom's four-year deal to improve supply deliveries at the VA's 152 hospitals, according to the Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1G9iyUQ). The contract awarded could make $275 million for Shipcom.

Rep. Tim Murphy said Moreland's past actions should have disqualified him from working for the VA system. During the Legionnaires' outbreak between February 2011 and November 2012, while Moreland was regional director, at least six veterans died and 16 became sick.

"I'm having a hard time congratulating the VA for making the albeit appropriate decision to ensure Michael Moreland stops working at the Oakland campus when, in reality, taxpayers shouldn't be paying him to do any work at any VA facility," Murphy said.

The VA isn't specifying who asked Moreland to quit his new job. But Rep. Jeff Miller agreed that Moreland should be removed.

"This seems like a positive step, but we will be monitoring the situation to see what the end result is," Miller said, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

No disciplinary action has been listed in response to the Legionnaires' outbreak, he added.

Moreland declined comment, but said Friday he is a private citizen working for a private company. Shipcom hasn't returned messages.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

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