The President has announced the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. Shinseki's resignation follows IG reports of widespread troubles in the VA health care system. Read the full story on Military.com.
The President accepted Shinseki's resignation in part due to the distraction all the calls for his ouster had become. The President said that the distractions would limit the agency's ability to identify and fix the problems plaguing the Veterans Health Administration.
Prior to announcing his resignation, Sec. Shinseki fired many of the people responsible for the hidden waitlists, including senior leaders at the Phoenix VA. In addition, he canceled all performance bonuses this year for VHA senior executives.
The VA has also been ordered personally contact every veteran in Phoenix waiting for appointments to ensure they get the care they need and deserve.
Following the announcement of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation, Chairman Jeff Miller of the House Veterans Affairs Committee released the following statement.
"Everybody knows Eric Shinseki is an honorable man whose dedication to our country is beyond reproach. I thank him for his legacy of service to our nation. Unfortunately, Shinseki's tenure at the Department of Veterans Affairs will forever be tainted by a pervasive lack of accountability among poorly performing VA employees and managers, apparent widespread corruption among medical center officials and an unparalleled lack of transparency with Congress, the public and the press. Appropriately, Shinseki is taking the brunt of the blame for these problems, but he is not the only one within VA who bears responsibility. Nearly every member of Shinseki's inner circle failed him in a major way. Those who surrounded Shinseki shielded him from crucial facts and hid bad news reports, in the process convincing him that some of the department’s most serious, well documented and systemic issues were merely isolated incidents to be ignored. Eric Shinseki trusted the VA bureaucracy, and the VA bureaucracy let him down.”For the time being that person is Sloan D. Gibson, former President of the USO. Gibson will step into the role of acting secretary until a permanent replacement is identified.
“Right now, VA needs a leader who will take swift and decisive action to discipline employees responsible for mismanagement, negligence and corruption that harms veterans while taking bold steps to replace the department’s culture of complacency with a climate of accountability. VA’s problems are deadly serious, and whomever the next secretary may be, they will receive no grace period from America’s veterans, American taxpayers and Congress.”
Now begins the hard work of cleaning up the VHA mess and ensuring the VA has adequate funding to help them address the systemic causes of this and other backlog issues plaguing the agency. This will require Congress and the White House to work closely.
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