VA Secretary Eric Shinseki Resigns

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President Obama announced this morning that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned.

Shinseki, a retired U.S. Army general, held the post since January 2009, but calls for his resignation have been coming in recently over widespread allegations of VA mismanagement, including allegations from a retired VA doctor in Phoenix that 40 veterans died while waiting for care.

See also:
-The American Legion Explains the Mess at the VA System in One Image
-American Legion Calls for Resignation of VA Secretary, Others

Although Obama has voiced support for Shinseki in recent weeks, he said at a press conference this morning that it was Shinseki's decision to resign.

Obama said his resignation was based on "his belief that he would be a distraction from the task at hand."

Organizations like the American Legion have been calling for Shinseki's removal for weeks. More recently, a growing number of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have been calling for his resignation, especially in light of the VA inspector general's interim report on the scheduling practices at the VA health care system in Phoenix, and other locations around the country.

The interim report does not answer the question of whether 40 veterans died on various VA waiting lists, as a retired doctor has alleged, but the inspector general found about 1,700 veterans waiting to see a doctor who are "at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix HCS's convoluted scheduling process."

"Our reviews have identified multiple types of scheduling practices that are not in compliance with VHA policy," the report states. "Since the multiple lists we found were something other than the official [electronic waiting list], these additional lists may be the basis for allegations of creating 'secret' wait lists."

More specifically, from the report:
To review the new patient wait times for primary care in FY 2013, we reviewed a statistical sample of 226 Phoenix HCS appointments. VA national data, which was reported by Phoenix HCS, showed these 226 veterans waited on average 24 days for their first primary care appointment and only 43 percent waited more than 14 days. However, our review showed these 226 veterans waited on average 115 days for their first primary care appointment with approximately 84 percent waiting more than 14 days. At this time, we believe that most of the waiting time discrepancies occurred because of delays between the veteran's requested appointment date and the date the appointment was created. However, we found that in at least 25 percent of the 226 appointments reviewed, evidence, in veterans' medical records, indicates that these veterans received some level of care in the Phoenix HCS, such as treatment in the emergency room, walk in clinics, or mental health clinics.
The Deputy VA Secretary, Sloan Gibson, will become the acting secretary, while a search is on for a permanent replacement.

Earlier this morning, Shinseki gave a speech to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. According to a copy of his speech provided by the VA, Shinseki said he's "initiated the process for the removal of the senior leaders at the Phoenix VA Medical Center" in response to the inspector general's interim report. Phoenix VA health care director Sharon Helman and two other employees had previously been placed on leave.

He also said no Veterans Health Administration senior executive will receive any type of bonus this year, and each of the 1,700 veterans at Phoenix who were at risk of being forgotten in the scheduling system will be contacted "to bring them the care they need and deserve."

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32 comments
Talkie Toaster
Talkie Toaster

No. This whole thing was a grudge dating back to the previous administration. He served this country with honor in so many ways. I really doubt the problems with the VA had anything to do with him.

Robert Seiler
Robert Seiler

No. Granted was to appease the masses but he was a sacrificial goat.

Michelle Morganegg
Michelle Morganegg

If he had to go then McCain should have too! It's not like McCain didn't know this was going on!

John Mason
John Mason

No. He had been making progress in fixing problems within the VA even without the support of the politicians who blocked funding to increase staff and facilities. The people who ran the regional facilities came up with the secret lists in order to hide the problems from leaders like him in order to receive performance bonuses. With the current inability of congress to do anything their will be no strong leader to pursue changes.

Steve Palermo
Steve Palermo

No. He is a talented and decorated American. The real problem is more local. Shinseki was a fall guy. Someone had to pay in a big public way. They should have instead sacked local administrators, starting with those in Phoenix.

JB Runyon
JB Runyon

No. Respects to my friends who voted Yes, but I vote No. The VA and the good people who work there has worked too well for me and too many others. General Shinseki is a fellow soldier who was railroaded out.

bobby5527
bobby5527

ok I've heard you, now hear me. I've now made it to 40 years as spinal cord injury quadriplegic and as a patient of the V.A. The former director of the Phoenix V.A. served at Hines V. A. where I was a patient myself after suffering injury in 1974, even Walter Reed was plagued with problems back then. Such problems were endemic and in place as far back as then. Are the administrations since Nixon to George W. to be included in blame or is it only the current administration to be held responsible for over forty years of inadequacy? And now Mr. Shinseki has been forced to resign I wonder how all these problems will disappear overnight.

yukiomishima
yukiomishima

if this nip had any honor, he'd have resigned long ago... and maybe even seppuku'd himself.

royalphoenix
royalphoenix

The best way to solve this continuing problem is to stand down the active force by 50%, and vote these two corrupt political parties out. The crook Rumsfeld said the war in Iraq would cost no more than 100 billion...is he still getting a retirement check ? peace

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

Now that the lynching is over with, what is left? Is it now time for the vultures (war profiteers) to circle in and pick the headless agency clean?


It's time for congress to step-up and pay for the damaged lives they created. And do it with a non-profit model. The war profiteers (to many to list) have already received their payout. It's time for not only veterans but the entire American middle class to get a payout from those who profit from the blood of others. A 99.9% surcharge on all profits from war to pay for the true costs of war sounds reasonable.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

The heads of the State Department of AMVETS, VFW and American Legion also should be resigning - they presided over this debacle with thousands of their members reporting to them that they were having problems at the VA Hospital with NO ACTION - except for these people to cover up for the Administration at the VA in Phoenix.  The people in the veterans organization in Arizona are to busy trying to figure out ways to embezzle monies from their posts' clubhouses to pay attention to the complaints their members have been expressing for years!

I call upon the heads of the Veteran organizations in the Phoenix area to resign and let a younger more concerned group of leaders pull their heads out of their asses and get these types of problems handled.  Believe me, there's a lot more CRAP under dark glass in Arizona when it comes to Vets!


danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

Robert, I appreciate you being compassionate in the plight of us vets, but you would be more helpful if you got your facts right. (But seriously, thank you for being angered of the whole issue. As I vet, I really do appreciate the support and outrage you are showing for us.............so thanks)

arizonanewtimes.com
arizonanewtimes.com

@bobby5527 Well if the problems date back to 1974 then there has been plenty of time to fix what has been wrong but apparently nothing has been fixed so good riddance to him.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@bobby5527


If one continues to blame the past instead of the present, nothing will ever get fixed.  Obama loves to blame others.  He has had six years to fix it.  Are you giving him and his administration a pass by blaming previous administrations?  

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

Shinseki resigning is a diversion. But he WAS part of the problem.

bobby5527
bobby5527

@fishingblues @bobby5527  I can't recall where Pres. Obama has placed blame on others. Perhaps you can remind us. You say he's had six years to overhaul the V.A. In my 40 years in the V.A. system I've been through 6 other presidents and the system was broken then. Why are they absolved of accountability? Heck, George W and Cheney only added to the numbers being treated. Why don't they get any credit for mismanagement or is judgement for bad management reserved only for Pres. Obama?

james8394
james8394

@jonnyquest I'm not so sure he was. He was hamstrung by lack of funding and problems brought about by multiple deployments that should have been foreseen but either weren't or were ignored. By all accounts, the guy is a competent executive and a true patriot. The true responsibility lies with the congress. 




fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@bobby5527 @fishingblues


Bad Bob,  Obama blames bush for everything in which he is incompetent, which is nearly everything.  Where have you been?  He and his cronies are still blaming Bush.


The reason he is responsible is because he is supposed to be the president RIGHT NOW.  Hell, you can blame Grover Cleveland if you think it will do any good.  


Jazus, it is like talking to two year olds!


It it helps, I didn't consider GW to be a very good president.  Best 4 in recent history?  Reagan, Jack Kennedy, Eisenhower, Clinton.


Worst 4: Obama, Carter, GW, pick one.   

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

From multiple websites, including whitehouse.gov, the VA has had money left over each year for the last 5 years. Amounts were into the hundreds of millions of dollars. There are reports that Shinseki was aware of the problems several years back. Don't take my word for it. Look it up.

bobby5527
bobby5527

@fishingblues @bobby5527  I get it now. I'm trying to explain simple logic to a civilian. Perhaps you can inform us of your experiences dealing with the V.A. And in a civil manner.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@bobby5527 @fishingblues


Soooooo,  bad Bob, in your world,

one must list their qualifications in order to have an opinion? 


Okay....  Where did you go to school?  What level of education did you attain?  What was you cumulative GPA? What is your IQ?  What is your hat size?  What is your shoe size?  How big is your dick?  How tough is your dad?


Jazus!  Some people's kids.  


Go back to your original post.  You asked the question nimrod.  The fact that you didn't like my answer does not invalidate it.

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