American Legion Calls for Resignation of VA Secretary, Others

Categories: News
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

The American Legion, a veterans service organization, is calling for the resignations of U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and two others, largely due to the allegations of veterans dying on a waiting list at the Phoenix VA health care system.

"The disturbing reports coming from the Phoenix VA Medical Center are just one of what appears to be a pattern of scandals that have infected the entire system," Legion commander Daniel M. Dellinger writes. "It has been more than 20 years since The American Legion has called for the resignation of a public official. It's not something we do lightly."

See also:
-Phoenix VA Director, Two Others Placed on Leave
-VA Official: We Found "No Evidence" of a Secret Waiting List at Phoenix VA Hospital

The Legion, which describes itself as the "nation's largest wartime veterans service organization," also is calling for the resignations of Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel -- who's responsible for overseeing VA healthcare systems nationwide -- and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey.

A former Phoenix VA doctor has claimed that about 40 veterans died while on a sort of "secret" waiting list.

Although the VA's own investigation has turned up nothing, three Phoenix VA employees have been placed on leave, including director Sharon Helman.

The VA's Office of Inspector General currently is investigating the claims, and the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs will be holding hearings once that report is complete.

Dellinger's open letter continues:
As national commander of The American Legion, I was able to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office a few weeks ago. I expressed The American Legion's strong concerns about service at the VA.

I also discussed the unacceptable benefits backlog and poor access to facilities with Shinseki. My staff has met with top VA officials. We have found the meetings far less than satisfactory and the answers not very forthcoming. In fact, the secretary didn't seem to fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation and, at the time, didn't feel anybody needed to be replaced. If it were a private institution or if the executives were still in the military, they would be relieved of duty.

VA's senior leaders didn't seem to realize that one great tragedy of these delays and needless deaths is that they undeniably besmirch the compassionate work of thousands of dedicated VA employees and the outstanding care that many facilities provide. A few years ago, The American Legion was lauding the VA for its great care and we hope to do so again. Unfortunately, we do not see VA enacting the culture change that it so desperately needs with the current leadership in place. Senior VA leaders have isolated themselves from the media and, more importantly, from answering to their shareholders, America's veterans.

We look forward to hearing the results of the VA Inspector General's report and The American Legion welcomes Sen. Bernie Sanders' intention to hold hearings based on the IG's findings.

Like the mythical bird for which the city is named, the Phoenix VAMC needs to rise from the ashes of its bureaucratic ineptitude and provide the medical care worthy of the veterans it was built to serve.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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Tyburn Gallows
Tyburn Gallows

Are you defending my freedom? Shouldn't you be defending my freedom, you piece of shit?

Jesse Adams
Jesse Adams

Let veterans run the VA, then shit will get done. Nobody knows the struggles of veterans more than ourselves.

Jesse Adams
Jesse Adams

well in all reality, all the gear we have carried or been issued, was made possible by the lowest bidder.

Jesse Adams
Jesse Adams

It looks like you are attempting to talk down to soldiers and vets online. Let me know if you ever get the balls to take this talk in person and Ill bring a few veterans and soldiers with me who love to meet people like you.

Joey Strickland
Joey Strickland

No. I believe he should be given the authority to fire and replace people. Who else is more qualified. Nobody! Former Chief of Staff of the Army, the man who told Rumsfeld that it would take 200,000 soldiers to hold Iraq, combat wounded in Vietnam. He inherited a mess. He has done much for veterans. Who else is out there ? Nickelson ,Principe all were a bust. I doubt if the national commander of the American Legion could do the job. Let the OIIG finish their investigation before they start hollering for his head. Do not attack Shenseki because you don't like Obama.

Jerry Young
Jerry Young

They need to review every administrative position that earns a performance bonus for meeting minimum criteria such as patient scheduling.

Joseph E Lunt
Joseph E Lunt

Its not going to change any thing. Why do we have a VA it makes no sense if u qualify for VA benifits u get a ID card and go to any hosp of your choice for your care and they bill the VA kinda like Medicare tell me y it won't work I am a vet and a RN who will never use the VA

Tom Lucas
Tom Lucas

Why can't the VA be as effective as the Mayo Clinic? I mean, really, our troops have the best combat gear in the world. Why don't they get the best healthcare?

Richard Dickson
Richard Dickson

Yes, get rid of Shinseki and all of his useless executives at the VA.

ExpertShot topcommenter

About time the Vet groups that supposedly are there to serve veterans stood up and said something - they're all too busy embezzeling funds from their Posts' clubhouses to care about what has been happening at the VA Hospital for years now.  

The Vet organizations members in Phoenix have complained to their leadership long and hard over the years - but the "Good Old Boy" network in the Vets organizations in Phoenix and their "loyalty" to the VA Administrators has suppressed these complaints.  Now that a Doctor from within the system has put her head on the chopping block for the Vets - NOW the American Legion stands up.  But instead of attacking the problem where it is - HERE IN THE VA HOSPITAL IN PHOENIX, they pull a political stunt.  SHAME on the American Legion, VFW and AMVETS - where were you when the Vets who died needed you?  Drinking in your clubhouses and fugking each other's wifes?!?

Christmas in July is coming up - are we going to have a paltry number of volunteers AGAIN this year to help distribute materials to the VETS in the VA? 

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

So they'll fire Shinseki and the others, then what? Anyway, I say divert the money wasted daily on Afghanistan after the last GI is out of there. What is it, $500 million every day? That money needs to be spent on something worthwhile. No more tanks and planes and submarines until the VA problem is fixed.

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