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Posts in "Appointments"
May 30, 2014
Updated 10 a.m. | Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki apologized for the scandal rocking his department Friday, but he did not resign ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama this morning.
“I apologize,” to Congress, the public and to the veterans, Shinseki said — calling the findings of systemic shortcomings in VA health care unacceptable.
“Leadership and integrity problems can and must be fixed, and now,” he said, announcing a series of changes that include plans to remove any leader who tolerated deception in scheduling practices.
Obama said in a taped interview airing this morning on “Live With Kelly and Michael” that he plans to have a “serious conversation” with Shinseki about whether he has the capacity to fix the VA’s problems.
“I don’t want any veteran to not be getting the kind of services they deserved,” the president said.
May 16, 2014
Updated 4:05 p.m. | The chief health official at the Department of Veterans Affairs resigned Friday, amid an ongoing scandal about wait times and deaths within the VA health system.
“Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. “As we know from the Veteran community, most Veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.”
But one top congressional overseer called Shinseki’s announcement the “pinnacle of disingenuous political doublespeak.”
May 15, 2014
One of President Barack Obama’s closest advisers, Rob Nabors, has been deployed to help fix troubles at the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of damaging stories of veterans dying while waiting for care and calls from some lawmakers in Congress for the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Shinseki, facing a hostile hearing Thursday morning in the Senate, thanked the White House for sending Nabors to help him review practices at the department.
“Rob is a fresh set of eyes, he’s a son of a veteran … and a proven performer,” Shinseki said in his opening remarks. Full story
May 12, 2014
President Barack Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner agree on something — Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki should not resign, despite calls from a number of Boehner’s fellow Republicans for him to go.
On Monday, 16 House Republicans, led by Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, wrote to Obama asking him to remove Shinseki and two others in the VA’s top leadership.
“Recent revelations about avoidable patient deaths, delayed treatments, falsified records, secret waiting lists, and cancelled appointments, coupled with systemic IT security failures, project cost overruns, and a backlog that has more than doubled since 2009, clearly demonstrate widespread incompetence and a lack of transparency within the Department of Veterans Affairs. … Enough is enough,” the lawmakers wrote. Full story
May 5, 2014
Updated 6:22 p.m. | The White House is backing Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after he faced calls to resign Monday over allegations that veterans died waiting for care in Phoenix and other problems in his department.
“As the President said last week, we take the allegations around the Phoenix situation very seriously,” said Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman. “That’s why he immediately directed Secretary Shinseki to investigate, and Secretary Shinseki has also invited the independent Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General to conduct a comprehensive review,” he said.
“We must ensure that our nation’s veterans get the benefits and services that they deserve and have earned. The President remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the Department and to take appropriate action based on the IG’s findings.”
Earlier Monday, the American Legion called on Shinseki to resign, although the Veterans of Foreign Wars declined to do so. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he wants the investigation to go forward first.
Later Monday, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., the chairman of the House Veterans’ Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, called on Shinseki to resign “due to chronic mismanagement and systemic failures of the VA under his leadership, ranging from dramatic cost overruns in major construction projects to glaring patient safety problems,” according to a press release. Full story