VA Director James Talton

A federal appeals board has upheld the firing of the former director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.

The Veterans Administration terminated James Talton in late October for neglect of duty. He appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. The board has issued a 32-page decision upholding the termination.

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The Veterans Administration has started termination of a second official at its troubled medical centers in central Alabama.

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson announced Friday that termination proceedings had begun against Dr. Cliff Robinson, who was put on paid administrative leave in August from his position as chief of staff at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.

Gibson announced Monday that termination proceedings had begun against James Talton, who was also placed on leave in August from his position as director of the Central Alabama VA.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken the first step toward removing the director of the Central Alabama VA Healthcare System following months of problems.

The VA's deputy secretary, Sloan Gibson, said Monday that he proposed the removal of James Talton following an investigation that substantiated allegations of neglect of duty.

Talton was placed on administrative leave in August after reports that hundreds of X-rays went unread, patients experienced long delays in getting appointments, and one employee took a patient to buy illegal drugs.

The director of the Veterans Administration health services in central Alabama says he's eliminated paper waiting lists, added staff and worked to bring stability to an operation that has some of the longest patient waiting lists in the country.

James Talton talked about the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System after a VA report Monday showed it had an average wait time for new patients of 75 days. Talton says that's too high.

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An Alabama congresswoman says she was misled about steps being taken to correct the falsification of records at Veterans Administration health centers in central Alabama.

Republican Rep. Martha Roby announced over the weekend that the director of VA facilities in Montgomery and Tuskegee had told her some employees were terminated. She said she contacted Director James Talton on Tuesday and he told her there had been a misunderstanding about what he meant when he said the employees were "relieved of their duties." They were not terminated.