Google +LinkedInPinterestYouTubeInstagramTwitterFacebook

Dellinger calls for VA secretary, 2 others to step down

In front of local media and a live Internet audience, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger today called for the resignations of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey.

Dellinger cited poor oversight and failed leadership as the reason for calling for the resignations – something The American Legion hasn’t done regarding a public official in more than 30 years.

“Gen. Eric Shinseki has served his country well,” Dellinger said. “His patriotism and sacrifice for this nation are above reproach. However, his record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs tells a different story. The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks.”

Dellinger pointed to allegations from multiple whistleblowers of a secret waiting list at the Phoenix VA Health Care System that may have resulted in the death of approximately 40 veterans, that VA previously had acknowledged that 23 veterans throughout the health-care system have died as a result of delayed care in recent years, and a the findings of an investigation by VA’s Office of Medical Inspector that clerks at the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., were instructed last year how to falsify appointment records so it appeared the small staff of doctors was seeing patients within the agency's goal of 14 days, according to the investigation.

“These disturbing reports are part of what appear to be a pattern of scandals that has infected the entire system,” said Dellinger, noting issues that have come up in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Augusta, Ga. “Those problems need addressed at the highest level – starting with new leadership. The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks.”

Dellinger said that the failure to disclose safety information or to cover up mistakes is unforgivable – as is fostering a culture of nondisclosure. “VA leadership has demonstrated its incompetence through preventable deaths of veterans, long wait times for medical care, a benefits claims backlog numbering in excess of 596,000, and the awarding of bonuses to senior executives who have overseen such operations,” he said. “Some veterans have waited years to have their claims decided. That same leadership has failed to provide answers to why these issues continue to occur.”

Dellinger said that while errors and lapses can occur in any system, “The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable. This has not happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top. “

When asked by media what the Legion would do if the trio didn’t resign, Dellinger said a draft of the request was being sent to the White House. “This is a very serious situation,” he said. “The administration needs to take steps now. It’s long overdue. Whenever you’re talking about a patient’s life – a veteran’s life – in jeopardy, it’s always serious.”

Dellinger also wrote an op-ed piece calling for the resignations. Read it here.

 

 

More in Veterans Health Center

 

Frank E. Vincent-Vietnam Vet. - 1959 -60-61

June 5, 2014 - 12:37pm

READ MY LETTER TO:George Arlis Small - SP5-US Army - 1 Aviation Brigade - 517-58-8714 Oct 28, 1947 - Sep 15, 2006 Dear brother, I guess I can say this letter was lost in the pale along with the many who served, returned and put away out of sight. You, George, were strong and brave when they called you to serve your nation. As crew chief and door gunner on a helicopter that flew low to protect air tankers overhead who sprayed defoliant . You served your tour honorablely but you were damaged by being bathed repeatedly in Agent Orange, and you slowly developed congestive obstructive pulmonary disease, so you couldn't get inpatient care. No George, Agent Orange was not considered or excepted until later as a reason for the deterioration of your health. And though their was no history of diabetes in your family you developed that side effect of Agent Orange as well and that further complicated your health and life.. One day you had to call a relative to take you to the L.A. Veterans hospital in Los Angeles, CA. He continued to come and visit regularly and at times cleaned you and bathed away the body waste and demanded your linen be changed. You told him you did not want to endure tracheal intubation, and so he gave the medical personnel your wishes. However, many of them were foreign medical workers who did not abide with standing orders but after you had lost consciousness they disregarded the standing request. From that operation you developed a major infection with irreversible damage. The Inspector General's investigation was done and it was then determined you were entitled to a limited disability pension. Finally your grave condition became static so they allowed you to be transferred to a VA hospital in Walla Walla, Washington with a prescription for immediate care and treatment. Yet you had to wait for two months, before they would see you. But even after they admitted you to a bed, your condition expectedly became more precarious and they could no longer effectively treat you. So consequently you were advised that you would be sent to the VA hospital in Seattle. You declined because you knew you would never see your family again, so they released you to die at home, but one day during a critical episode at home, you were ambulanced and admitted to a regular general hospital in Richland, Washington and the doctor and his staff cared for you throughout the night and again you improved enough to be taken from intensive care and admitted to a temporary care nursing home which was not paid for by the V.A. They made you well enough to come home and lead a restricted but a somewhat normal life style for about three years. But one early morning, you left your pain and medical condition on your way to eternity.. I just wanted to let you know George, they finally admitted that ‘Agent Orange’ may have been the original cause of your medical condition. One last thing George, Congress is finally investigating the lack of treatment by the Veteran’s Hospitals, and their secret waiting lists. If you were still with us you would remember how Senator Patty Murray praised the treatment the veterans were getting but would you believe she is on the Congressional Committee investigating the Veteran's Hospital Administrations? Frank E. Vincent

John C C

May 9, 2014 - 1:12am

As a long time member of the American Legion and having great respect for our National Commander, I think he did outstanding job asking them to step down. the VA should be held accountable.

Joseph Higgins

June 3, 2014 - 1:37pm

Thanks! We Need Reform inorder for a change to be real!. Just walking the VA Secretary out the door with a lifetime income will not put "fear" in the hearts of other public officals. Causing Deaths, this VA Secretary betrayed the nation under sworn oath! See article three, section 3 united states constitution. See 18 USC section 241. But review stat trac dot syr dot edu. "Hodgepodge snippet" Reform must take place by holding these corrupt public official criminally accountable.This is the only way you will put fear in the hearts of other corrupt public officials. Its in our basic instruction before leaving earth. Deuteronomy 16, verse 18 to 20. Then Read Deuteronomy 17. The same bible they swore up under! No SEDITION are involved in this writing.

Va Fayetteville Arkansas

May 9, 2014 - 12:40am

I know you guys go back and forth on the fence about whether Shinseki and the two others are doing their jobs or not. I have turned in mismanagement in money on travel expenses, special awards for programs like the CREW program. These programs gives my director Dr. Mark Enderle a bonus check every time he has a program running and is successful. And these programs are not successful only the numbers are covered up to look like the program is working. And the backlog is happening at this VA just like the other problem VA's. I ask for all three of them to be fired for their part in this tragedy. My whole family father and mothers side are Vietnam Veterans who won't go to the VA because of these problems. They fired me for a guy bulling me and whistleblowing on the director in which I have a case in the MSPB court right now. So if I can get fired for nothing then why can't these people killing Veterans to make themselves look good and receive a big bonus check be fired to? I could go into more details but HIPA laws won't let me. So call Fayetteville VA and ask if there is any problems with the backlog and how many deaths they have had in the last three to five years. 479-443-4301 ext. 5000 and ask to speak with Mark Enderle or who is in charge that day.

Lisa Groves

May 9, 2014 - 12:20am

As a Disabled Veteran and Veteran Advocate I can't believe that the American Legion wants General Shinseski to resign. When the American Legion did nothing to assist me when I was sexually assaulted a Legion Convention. I reported to the National Headquarters and they turned a blind eye. I came to realized that all they cared about was only getting members. I pray that they are doing this to General Shinseski for so that they can get more members.

dwaynen

May 15, 2014 - 8:24pm

Lisa, this is sinful, and as a male I do feel your pain. have you spoke with an Attorney about this situation? In relationship of this current subject manner of 'accountability' if this lack of response by the American Legion to steer the ship in the right direction, hold them liable for failing to protect you, should get their attention or at least have the Commander to step down. Remember the US Navy Tail Hook. This would not totally restore your dignity, but we can correct the 'accountability!' Good Luck and hope that you are okay.

Legion Member 777

May 8, 2014 - 11:42pm

Commander, respectfully, you don't speak for all of veterans by calling for General Shinseki to step down. He has made positive changes and remember, with all the beauracrats and apathetic federal employees, he has still made a positive difference. Show some loyalty and let him do his job. You can't just snap your fingers and fire a federal employee. If so, he would have terminated many at the VA who are only there for the inflated GS salaries. How sad it is that we blame him for the failures of those who made the horrific decisions that have cost brothers and sisters their lives. Why don't you focus on all the positive that he has accomplished? Knee jerk reactions calling to fire one of our own seems not well thought out and hasty. Take a note from IAVA and ask all your members what they think before appointing yourself as the voice for all legion members. I support General Shinseki, a fellow combat veteran who has always put soldiers first. I highly suspect he will do the right thing once the inquiry is complete. And no, I don't work at the VA but they have taken care of me and many brother and sister Veterans I know with medical and homeless programs. Give him time to change the course of the VA juggernaut Sir!

applejack

May 16, 2014 - 3:39pm

Please tell us what Gen.Shinseki has done to improve the functioning of the VA during the 5 1/2 years that he has held his position. The waiting times for disability claims are still the same. The bad hospitals are still bad hospitals. How much time would you like to give Shinseki, another 5 1/2 years? I receive my primary care from a pretty good VA Hospital, but when I signed up for my first appointment with a primary care physician it was cancelled three times, extending my wait to see a GP to five months. I told the PC desk to assign me another doctor, and the PA got me an appointment in two weeks. I didn't connect the dots back then. Don't be quiet if you are waiting for care, especially now that the veil has been lifted.

Mike Tierney

May 9, 2014 - 7:20am

I could not agree more with your summary. I use the Minneapolis VA and they are great. I am 30% rated so I do get preference and it has proven to be timely and professional. But it has been that way for years so I can't attribute their performance to any one VA head. But I can say "Thanks, Mpls VA"!

'Doc'

May 8, 2014 - 11:27pm

I have always said if it ain't broke don't fix it. The VA is broke. 40 deaths that can be directly related to poor performance? In many countries around the world the responsible parties and the CEO would be arrested, tried, and put to death. Thank god we are in America but these folks need to lose their jobs and the VA needs to be rethought. My story is a LOD back injury. Claim filed in 2007. Denied in 2009 as they say the field hospital reported a scratch and bruising but no significant injury. Ummm it is a back injury. Bruising along the spine should be sufficient to at least move forward. At minimum at least it should warrant a medical exam. Nothing, just denied. course I appealed immediately. Here it is 5 years later and very little communication. The only thing. I got from them was the fact that they could not find my service records at one point. They found an obscure treatment record which they used for the denial but could not find my record? Fix it.

James vc

May 8, 2014 - 11:01pm

At the risk of retaliation from the Office of the Department of Retaliation and Intimidation I am submitting a part of my personal experience with this huge , tangled mess known as the VA. Due to a worsening of my disabilities ( I was at 50% ) I filed for an increase , that took two years and six months to get an answer and that was only because of the help of Senator John Cornyn. I did get 80% as a decision award.-- One year , two months and fifteen days ago I found it necessary to file yet another claim due to worsening of my disabilities and the addition of related and aggravated conditions. The response from the VA for the past twelve months have been "At this time , your Regional Office is unable to provide an estimated completion date for this type of claim." and it is in the "PREPARATION FOR DECISION" status. Nine months ago I was told by my primary care Doctor that I have type 2 diabetes--I have NOT to this date 05/08/2014 heard anything from them ( VA) concerning the diabetes diagnosis (I did get a diagnosis of arthritis of the spine about two weeks ago due to a trip to Audie Murphy ER because of severe low back pain and have had no further information on either diagnosis as of this date 05/08/2014 ) I made an appointment with a civilian Doctor because of my concern with the diabetes problem and on 05/ 01 /2014 the Civilian Doctor prescribed medication for my diabetes and by the way , the VA pharmacy refused to fill that prescription. That is all I am willing to speak of at this time concerning my less than stellar experiences with the "Bureaucracy of Health" aka the VA.

Mike T

May 9, 2014 - 7:22am

I don't suppose you are significantly over weight?

Chaz

May 8, 2014 - 9:28pm

People, this is nothing new, yet everyone seems to think this is something that has just happened. I filed my original claim 2 weeks after being discharged, 43 years ago, and was denied by an 80 year old doctor who couldn't read my claim form without a giant magnifying lense. Ten years of filing appeal after appeal, re-file after re-file got me nowhere. However, even tho they denied my claim, they did the surgery. Five years ago, I battled prostate cancer, two years ago, they took my benefits, two months ago, I have prostate cancer, all my appeals were denied. My son was medically discharged from the Navy two years ago, after serving 10 years, and he is no closer to getting medical treatment from the Phoenix VA hospital than he was two years ago. According to the Phoenix VA hospital, he never had any x-rays done, never had any MRI's, and had never seen a doctor there, absolutely NO RECORDS. As I've said, this is nothing new, it's been going on forever and after 43 years of dealing with the VA, I, for one, am so relieved to see that something might finally get done. Right now, we are only talking about 40 vets in Phoenix, how many more across the country have suffered the same fate? Hundreds? Thousands? My hat is off to Commander Dellinger for his actions and it is time that those responsible are held accountable. I spilled my blood to preserve the freedoms we enjoy, as did many, may others and it's time to stop sweeping us under the carpet. It's a sad day for America when those sworn to provide and support us turn their backs on us as they have for so many years.

buddyd49

May 8, 2014 - 7:50pm

Commander, you need to be the one to step down! Of all the arrogant, uneducated and simplistic statements made by our leadership, this will surely put you in the books right beside bozo the clown. Mr. Shinseki is an honorable man and has made vast and lasting improvements in the VA medical care system. Luckily, you do not speak for all of us veterans. Your supposed influence given you from the AL organization does not include talking out of your a__!

Mta

May 8, 2014 - 7:47pm

The American Legion DOES offer solutions and has established "A System Worth Saving" - ia program that sends out teams to VAMCs and VAs to identify areas that need improvement and how to do it. Whether it's processing claims or examining the level of care our veterans receive - those teams have been reporting back to the VA leadership. Apparently, as Commander Dellinger said, the general was a good military leader, but his skills at leading the VA are questionable at best. When veterans die waiting for care, the system is broke and only a true leader can fix it.

Ron Elkins

May 8, 2014 - 6:55pm

I am not sure if there is blame in a broke system, but why are we giving bonuses to Government officials! Where did the money for a bonus come from Mr. President. You want ways of cutting back on government? lets cut out extravagant bonus pay. How many other top government officials got large bonus checks? While vets wait years to get what they earned! Just food for thought!

MADONNA

May 8, 2014 - 9:48pm

RON, I COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF. MY HUSBAND IS A V.S.O. IN THE STATE WE LIVE IN AND A NAM VET. HE IS SOOOOOOOOO UPSET WITH ALL OF THIS NASTY STUFF. I COME FROM A MILTARY FAMILY SINCE W W 2 AND UP TO DATE AND HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS. TAKE AWAY ALL THE SECURITY THESE CREEPS HAVE AND GET THAT CREEP OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Claudia

May 12, 2014 - 2:06am

WHO THE HELL SENT THE TROOPS AWAY FROM HOME IDIOT?

J Ross

May 8, 2014 - 5:26pm

It is my belief that while i was on vacation in Penna from Calif at which what time I had a heart attack,, IO went to the VA for it they sub it out to a local hospital,, after the surgery the VA was in charge of my meds,, As i said it is my belief from what i have seen and heard that there was paper work filled out stating I had a stent put in when I really had not,, was said for me to get the meds i needed or should have u had to have a stent to get those meds so it was written up that way to get the meds when there was no stent at all,, you know to this day i still can not find any one that can tell me if I have that stent or not,, Cant help but wonder just how many other lies have been made up and placed into records

Lost Vet

May 8, 2014 - 5:16pm

Dont get it been threw the run around for years ,, getting passed from one office to another ,, just yesterday I made a call to speak to a nurse about some of my medical care ,, Every seen the experiment when you was a kid in school,, when the teacher whispered some thing to the first one and by the time it was passed from one to the other of 30,,, when it reached the last of the 30 it was no where near what it was when it started,, That is only 1 of the cases here and still going on yesterday,, I woke up to place my call ,, I first tak to some 1 at the switch broad where I ask to speak to a nurse,, they patch me thur to a clerk where i give my last name and last for and explain the question i have ,,, lord and be hold he didnt have any medical training and had no idea what infor there would be to answer my question,, so he says same as last guy he will patch me thur to the nurse,,, I get a recording that ask me if i would like a call back or wait on hold ,, i choose this time to go thur the recorder to ask for a call back at 9:30 am which i do not get,,, so at 10:00 pm I call back and at this time i stay on hold to speak to some 1,, it crazy but they more less say the ones that was to call me at 9:30 might be trying to call me right now and would be my fault if they didnt get thur or I didnt get the call,, told me to wait for the call,, Now keep in mind there are other areas i need to cover in a day,, once done with that last call and still waiting on the call i was to get at 9:30 !! There is a knock on my door with a market del me some food which comes once a week because I cant get out to get it,, This is now going on about 10:30 am right in the middle of answering my door and just getting started on my business with the market my phone rings and i tell the nurse that i was in the middle of something same as they was when i was placeing my cals to them for the past two hours,, ask how they would like to work it,, i saw 3 choices either the nurse could sit on hold until i finished with the ones at my door or she could call me back or i could call her back,,The nurse tells me to place another call when i was ready,,, so I finish my business with the ones at the door & make another call back this time i choose to stay on hold when i am ask if i want a call back or want to hold ,,, after about 30 minutes on hold i change it to the call back at which time they ask if you want call back stat or a set time,, i put the stat,, then go back to waiting for yet another call back witch i believe came thur in about 40 minutes about this time we are reaching about noon,, I once again go over the whole thing with this nurse getting into details of everything and what my question where,, the end of that was she really didnt have the medical training to know much about it,, would send report or request to my docs nurse,, Mind you anytime i try to reach my doc or his nurse i get a VA hospital 80 miles away & my VA doc is only 6 miles from me,, not sure but is my guess they dont have phones for me to call my doc or his nurse by about 4:30 pm I receive a call back from my docs nurse and she said doc had looked it all over and was sending me a different med but that was only half of what my questions covered,, so i started asking more on it at which time i was told by that nurse the VA didnt carry what i was talking about and even as a nurse she had no infor on it or couldnt answer my question !! Insane to spend 8 hours on the phone when it would have been just a 20 minute chat,, never mind the fact this left me NO TIME for anything else in that day,, not even time to grab some thing to eat,, There are many many more I could go thur much like this one and some much worst but this one went on just yesterday but has been going on for years,, if fact two years when I tried to talk to them about it they flag me from coast to coast stating I was the problem and would have to travel 80 miles to a VA hospital when all most all that happen at that hospital when i was there for the app could have been done at the VA clinic 6 miles from my home,, Filled out two means reviews this year one the same as the other word for word one was from Calif the other from Penna,, woud think if one had it in the system then that should be enough for the other to pull the infor from there ,, guess maybe if they keep us busy with hours of extra running and double paper work we will never find the time to see or bother the doc,, not only do you not get to the doc but the time and money that is lost and spent in this circle is insane !! In 1995 was in a PTSD Program in LA. I happen to get a CWT Job out of it ,, had ask of taxes that needed paid on it the whole time I was doing it being told it was tax free ,, wasnt bad enough that the IRS showed up a few years after it wanting those taxes,, but also found that LA had reported it & so did Huston texas ,, which showed the IRS that I had recieved twice what I really got,, took over a year with the VA and the IRS to get it straightened out,, with daily phone calls to office from each most of the time just passing it off to yet another office for the next day,, it all ended at the end of a year when i was forced to take it to a congressmen,, when if the VA had been on top of things at the time would have never happened in the first place,, Vets ID card that when used in the VA koish machine claims i do not exists , take at least 20 minutes of a complete repeat of the last time i entered a VA building for anything,, Sorry to say in my shape there has been times over the past few years that yes i may drop dead be4 I got there all of the different run around they put you thur & as I said any time it is brought up then the pic they paint is that i am making the trouble and I am the problem,, not fair,, not right,, and about as unjust as it can be... May not get done be4 the end of me but yes,, it needs a total and complete overhaul and reform,, from top to bottom or the vets can just keep dying well in the middle of the run around they push you in most of which is totally uncalled for if the jobs were being do properly !!! Thank you !!

dwaynen

May 8, 2014 - 5:06pm

Mr. Commander and Comrades, please lets not point fingers to early or hold accountable at the very top and not hold accountable the actual individuals that maybe responsible for the horrific miss-management of who dies. Lets allow the IG to do it's job first and allow the Congress that we elect as a democratic society do their due diligences. Lets not forget we all have poor management skills hidden away in our back pockets, that due to the good old boy syndrome, we sorely look the other way. I have complain to the American Legion National Office, the my local Legion has fail to honor me with a 2014 Legionnaire Card after accepting my 2014 dues paid on time and every year for the past 14 years. The result, the good old boy syndrome, still no membership card. Fortunately, I didn't need the card to prove eligibility to the VA, because I may be a dead statistic, and we may be asking for you to step down Mr. Commander.

NAVYARMY66-94

May 9, 2014 - 8:57am

Your Department (as in state) should be able to assist you with getting your 2014 card. Just provide a copy of the check or whatever means you used to pay the dues. As far as BONUSES go, government employees are paid by us and should never receive bonuses for doing the job that they were hired to do to the best of their ability. None of them should be fire proof!

JL4 ID

May 8, 2014 - 4:40pm

This is more than unacceptable, it is criminal! The V.A. has put the budget ahead of the veterans and it appears that is by design. It is also, apparent they find ways to exclude veterans to keep costs down. It should be obvious with the Agent Orange issue that this is governmental in nature. I agree with National Commander Daniel Dellinger that Sec.Eric Shinseki has,sadly failed in his leadership

Harry Fulghum

May 8, 2014 - 4:02pm

Gen. Shinseki must be a great leader or he would not have achieved the rank he has. But, leader of the VA is not his calling. He should step down and ask all veterans to forgive him for not doing his job. We the veterans need a strong leader that will make heads roll,and fire most,if not all regional office managers and all board of veterans appeals board members that receive a bonus for appeals denied.

James vc

May 8, 2014 - 9:25pm

Well said and true

AJPEREZ

May 8, 2014 - 3:49pm

I thought I was getting great care at the VA, until I found out I wasn't. I was coming off active duty and for once it seemed I was getting better care. However, I was having female issues. The VA did some tests in 2009, and never discussed the results with me. I assumed that it "was all in my head" and needed to suck it up. Four years later I got really bad, tried to get into the VA but there was over a month to wait for an appointment. Went to a civilian doctor and was on the table and had surgery within 2 weeks. I couldn't even get an appointment at the VA that quick. I went back and got my results from that test in 2009. They KNEW I had problems but never thought to let me in on it, even though for four years I kept complaining abou the same symptoms. And let me point out another thing. At the Minneapolis VA, you must have to be over 70yrs old be a physician in the women's clinic. It is scary when you see your doctor barely walking down the hall because she looks like she is 90yrs old.

RON RUSNAK

May 8, 2014 - 3:44pm

If you got Shinseki to step down prince barry would just appoint somebody with no brain. Shinseki has been shown something is grossly wrong, now maybe he'll do his job instead of kissing obummer's butt.

SF Vet

May 8, 2014 - 3:31pm

Mr President, All I want to know is, who is being charged for these crimes and when is their trial. When they are convicted I trust they will go to a maximum security prison and not a country club. Restitution would be good too. If the General is not fired I have lost all faith in the Government that we fought for, for all those years. This is inexcusable and it is time for all the veterans to stand up and call for not only change but for justice for all our brothers and sisters these corrupt bureaucrats have mistreated. Negligent homicide isn’t a strong enough charge for the systematic corruption it would take to have this happen. Conspiracy to commit first degree premeditated murder is more like it. The General should be the first one charged.

Mo_56

May 8, 2014 - 2:37pm

I concur whole heartedly with Army Veteran. General Shinseki has not had enough time to correct all the problems in the VA. He is a veteran and extremely capable or he would not have been the Chief of Staff of the Army. He understands the Veteran's plight. He is also an extremely honorable man and if he says something, he will try and do it to the best of his ability. The Administrators at that hospital were the culprits - long before Shinseki became the Chief of the VA. Perhaps even the regional administration are to blame, but to blame General SHinseki is reaching. Letting someone die like what happened at the hospital should result in negligent homicide charges against someone because it was intentional.

USAF Vet

May 8, 2014 - 2:52pm

You are right about the negligent homicide charges. Do you know the General? How do you know he is honorable? How do you know he understands the veteran's plight? Unless you know him personally you are making assumptions. I do blame him, he is in charge of the VA and his organization has widespread systemic problems. What has he done to fix this? What is he proposing to do differently? Why is he not addressing these issues? The simple fact is the VA is grossly underfunded and desperately in need of modernization. This will require a large resource investment, I haven't heard Mr. Shinseki mention one thing about additional resources, modernization efforts or accountability.

Larry M

May 8, 2014 - 9:17pm

Will the B--lS--t please stand up, that's all you congress people, that's you Mr. President. It is all about money, spend less on vets who have no economic value and you can spend more on war. Bonuses cost less then health care and disability payments. If congress wanted to fix the veterans problems they could do so in a matter of weeks. Allocate money in large sums,to hire more health care personnel, pay disability, and take oversight responsibility with qualified professionals. Shinseki, is only the General who will be asked to fall on his sword, the real culprits will continue to do nothing; while calling for ever more investigations, hearings, and other ways to " kick the can down the street" Meanwhile more of us will die. No payments necessary. More drones, more payments to corrupt dictators to say nice things about uncle SAM. More CIA illegal activities in foreign territories. More NSA spying on it's citizens. etc.,etc. Not bitter, just saying. Of course I could be wrong

M198RedLeg TN

May 8, 2014 - 2:36pm

My two cents worth. The National Cdr Dellinger should do something. VHA healthcare varies from VAMC to VAMC. I would also like for him to address the backpay in CRDP/CRSC for retirees. The average wait is 22 months from when the AEW is completed, I would say the ballpark about is $10,000. Why can't veterans get their backpay for CRDP/CRSC quicker than 22 months.

USAF Vet

May 8, 2014 - 2:33pm

Anyone who thinks the VA leadership should not resign, is most likely sitting at the top of the VA food chain. It's outrageous, and this is not an isolated incident, it's department wide. Also it didn't happen overnight. The VA needs strong leadership which demands the resources required to care for veterans in a responsible manner. In my opinion if you don't agree with this you are part of the problem. Like a good friend used to tell me the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing and expect different results. IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE, IT IS TIME TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. A great start would be firing all the VA leadership.

JasonJ

May 8, 2014 - 4:16pm

I do know Mr. Shinseki personally. He is unquestionably and honorable man. He has been trying to make the right moves at the VA. Many of us simply cannot fathom the insurmountable inertia of the Titanic of government bureaucracy. We scream "iceberg!" at the top of our lungs. Finally, the captain hears us, but he simply doesn't have the strength to turn the rudder. He gets ten men to help him, but it is only enough to turn a fraction of an inch. We are going to continue to bounce off icebergs like the steal ball inside of a pinball machine.

Danny Vietnam Vet.

May 8, 2014 - 2:08pm

I agree with Army Veteran(1983-1997). Missoula, MT Clinic and Fort Harrison are great. I am a VFP member.

Retired Vaark Driver

May 6, 2014 - 8:53am

Agree with Responsible Veteran: offer solutions. Not sure why The Legion is approaching it with a unilateral scorched earth call for leadership change, particularly regarding USB Hickey; she is not in the chain of command with Phoenix or any other VA healthcare function getting highlighted by the allegations.

cowboyup

May 6, 2014 - 12:41am

I feel the American Legion should investigate Phoenix Regional Veterans Office as well. I bet they won't even though I have 5 years of Telephone and Meeting with American Legion Staff Members who have completely and purposely not giving timely ratings to Veterans who are also dying daily. Including myself and God help me. For I don't want to die like this. Even the Tucson VA likes to hold back my medication with threats towards me like i'm some child. I Reckon I'll just make a call to Fox News myself and hope someone well hear me. The VA or American Legion can't even return a simple phone call.

DevinPost27

May 5, 2014 - 11:04pm

Everything will get better. It takes time for good things to happen. My comment is saying give the plant water and soon it will start to grow, but it won't be done overnight. It's a process.

Responsible Veteran

May 5, 2014 - 9:46pm

I have to agree with Army Veteran. The Legion should provide solutions to problems rather than just request for the resignation of the Secretary and those around him. I also feel this is premature as an investigation has not even taken place. We do not know the exact cause of all of these problems. I think that once an investigation takes place we'll find that there are many deep seated problems that are not totally the VAs fault. It appears that other Service Organizations, such as the VFW, are not on board with the request for the resignation. The Legion should be working with other Service Organizations and the VA to correct problems that they find. The Legion should not have an adversarial role with the VA but rather work together to find solutions.

John Ornellas

May 5, 2014 - 8:23pm

I feel for Gen. Shinseki. He was given a task to fix the VA without the tools necessary to do the job. Being a General he knew the landscape was littered with mines and corrupt politicians. If we call for his resignation lets not stop there. Lets vote VETERANS STRONG. Lets replace the our representatives who make it habit to short sheet the veterans. Let us take control of our government by our votes. We need to step up and take back what this county lost in the eyes of the world. No more "Lines in the sand" but more boot to ass and protect our brothers and sisters who have given and continue to give towards our freedoms of this country.

Army Veteran(1983-1987)

May 5, 2014 - 8:19pm

As a long time member of the American Legion and having great respect for our National Commander, I think that asking for the resignation of Shinseki, Petzel, and Hickey was premature and an uninformed decision. I think he got it wrong this time. I fully understand and I can't condone the problems surfacing within the VA. However, asking for resignations at the level he is asking, is the wrong approach. Especially since it appears that the American Legion is spearheading this effort without the support from the other VSO's. What The American Legion should be doing is identifying the problem, coming up with solutions, sharing those solutions with the VA, and continue to hold them accountable. Short of those resignations actually happening, I think the American Legion's influence and credibility with the VA will be harmed. I hope that the Executive Committee takes a more reasonable approach to the VA problems and fails to vote for the resolution demanding the resignations.

Legion Member 777

May 8, 2014 - 11:46pm

I completely concur with your assessment.

Retired Chief

May 8, 2014 - 2:51pm

When this many people are being allowed to die in more than one location, when Florida health inspectors are turned away from VA hospitals, and when the requests for information get ignored, the people at the top should be fired. Calling for their resignation is too good for failures such as these. What happened to our vets? When did poor results become standard and acceptable?

USAF Vet

May 8, 2014 - 2:55pm

Agree, it's not acceptable. This should not be tolerated, and if Mr. Shinseki is an honorable man he will resign.

Larry M ( combat medic)

May 8, 2014 - 9:44pm

And then who? I think Congress, those do nothing SOB's are in large part to blame. They dole out money to their favorites ( those who return the favor))These problems with many VA medical facilities, and the disability backlog did not happen overnight, nor in a vacuum. There has been a conscious effort to ignore the problem, ( more vets die, no payments out ) Now that public scrutiny is finally available, due to press about the Phoenix VA medical scandal -- will there be changes? Who am I kidding, only more rhetoric, more investigations, more hearings, more do nothing. I truly believe it is all about money, and the unwillingness to spend it on valueless veterans. Not bitter,just saying. Of course I could be wrong.

USAF Vet

May 8, 2014 - 2:44pm

Interesting post. The American Legion IS holding the VA accountable and I would argue the problems are CLEARLY identified. But, you're right, we should continue with the current leadership because clearly they are doing a good job (sarcasm). You're right, it's a terrible idea for the American Legion to ask for the resignation of the VA senior leadership because they are doing a great job (sarcasm). I will be so bold as to say you sir are part of the problem. You sir are the reason so many hard working VA employees are condemned by the public and veterans alike. The VA has huge systemic problems which will not be solved by anyone currently in a senior leadership position. Perhaps you have one of those roles? Thanks for your service.

Louie

May 5, 2014 - 3:39pm

Things are not great at the Fargo VA, at least for me. I went months with a dislocated shoulder waiting for things to happen at the VA and was told I would have to wait months for an appt to get help for a nerve issue. I have the email to prove it. I was under the impression that the VA had to send a patient to a private doc if they cannot see you within 14 days. Either that is not true or they lied right to me while I sat suffering.

Mark Trent

May 8, 2014 - 3:22pm

Louie, not glad to hear someone else has my same problem. My left shoulder has been dislocated since last fall. It's been replaced twice. It's taken since Sept? last year to go thru the motions to see different Doctors, with a 2-4 month wait between each appt. things are not improving locally, not do I expect them to.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Tell us what you think