One more leadership change for Cincinnati VA

Posted at 7:19 PM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 19:23:27-04

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati VA Medical Center has hired an Army veteran from Columbus to be its first permanent chief of staff since 2013.

Dr. Elizabeth Brill is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who most recently worked as chief operating officer at Columbus’ Riverside Methodist Hospital. She’s a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with medical and MBA degrees from the University of Chicago.

The former Army lieutenant colonel has worked in health-care consulting and hospital administration since ending her 12-year military career in 2006.

Cincinnati VA spokeswoman Amanda Eisenlohr said Dr. Brill's credentials made Dr. Brill "head and shoulders above the rest" in the selection process.

"One of her very strong attributes she has is that she’s a veteran," Eisenlohr said. "I think that’s going to be an important asset to the leadership."

Dr. Brill will start May 2 in a position that was vacated in February by Dr. Barbara Temeck, a board-certified cardio-thoracic surgeon who was reassigned to a paperwork job after VA investigators substantiated a misconduct allegation against her. The allegation, raised in a series of reports by the Scripps Washington Bureau and WCPO, was that Dr. Temeck provided prescriptions for controlled substances to the wife of her former boss, VA Network Director Jack Hetrick.

RELATED: Read all of our VA coverage here

Dr. Temeck served more than two years as an acting chief before being replaced on an interim basis by Dr. Ralph Panos, former chief of medicine for the Cincinnati VA. Her attorneys announced in March that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration would not pursue criminal charges. Dr. Temeck relinquished her DEA registration, effectively ending her ability to prescribe controlled substances.

Hetrick retired after he was told that the VA would pursue his firing. He was replaced by Robert McDivitt, former director of a VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

McDivitt foreshadowed the leadership change Wednesday night, when Scripps and WCPO held a Veterans Town Hall at VFW Post 4369 in Sharonville. Although he didn’t name Dr. Brill as the candidate, he said a recruitment committee was nearing the end of a national search for a new chief of staff.

“There were good candidates,” McDivitt said of the recruitment process for a new chief of staff. “When we’re bringing on senior leaders, there’s a significant vetting process, but we’re optimistic it will come together this spring.”