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Legion on Petzel resignation: 'business as usual'

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki announced May 16 that he has accepted the resignation of his under secretary for health, Dr. Robert Petzel.

Responding to the news, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said, "This move by VA is not a corrective action, but a continuation of business as usual. Dr. Petzel was already scheduled to retire this year, so his resignation now really won’t make that much of a difference.

“Meanwhile, Secretary Shinseki and Under Secretary Hickey remain on the job. They are both part of VA's leadership problem, and we want them to resign as soon as possible. This isn't personal. VA needs a fundamental shift in leadership if it is to defeat its systemic lack of accountability."

Dellinger called on Shinseki, Petzel and Hickey to resign at a May 5 press conference at the Legion's national headquarters in Indianapolis.

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cowboyup

May 19, 2014 - 2:49pm

So now President Obama wants to put in a man who's Hospital is also under investigations for patient abuse......or in other words. "Waiting List" What a bunch of Idiots.

DaMadOne

May 18, 2014 - 3:52am

I checked to see who is replacing Petzel. Two weeks ago the president nominated Dr Jeffrey Murawsky to be Petzel's replacement when he retired. Murawsky is one of the big wig directors of the Illinois VA medical system. With Chicago presently being investigated for hidden lists, this is a sure sign that there will be no noticeable change.

Codehead

May 18, 2014 - 1:29am

I am writing to Secretary Shinseki to inform him that the Providence VAMC is a MODEL of excellence that he should pattern other facilities on. When I started going there in 1996, the buildings were run down, we had to wait a long time to get an appointment, drive around for 30 minutes to find a parking spot and wait (I kid you not) 4 hours AFTER we arrived there to be seen. Now, the buildings have been refurbished, the wait time for an appointment is minimal, they have valet parking to address the shortage of parking and I only wait approximately 15 minutes after I arrive to be seen. So, apparently, there are good facilities and bad ones in the system.

cowboyup

May 20, 2014 - 5:10pm

Good luck trying to get a reply from that man who calls himself Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I have written this man 5 times. Same letter. And I never got an answer back. Not even a simple phone call. Now I have to go outside the Tucson, Arizona V.A. and get a Cancer Screening next month. You see, he knew of my problem and did NOTHING to assist me or correct the VA for their two year delay of my appointments. Yet he sat in a congressional hearing and stated he was "Mad as Hell"!! Secretary Shinseki, why didn't you answer my letters of concern way before these Veterans died on your watch Sir?

Jack Ellenburg

May 19, 2014 - 5:46pm

I am appalled with the intelligence of the Legion's leadship to think this way But, to declare this as the real reason for all the problems with the VA and the solving of issues like this.. is like raising Harry Truman from the dead.. or even Able Linclon...

UpsetVeteran

May 17, 2014 - 12:41am

It happens in every Alabama VA facility I have been to. I am a veteran and healthy. I do not abuse the system but I do go every year for just a physical since my immediate family all has cancer and cant even get in for that. I waited 20 months for an appointment for that and then was told I had to wait another 9 months to get an appointment to have a "cancerous" mole removed. It has been 9 months and still no appointment! So I will just pay the $120 to go to urgent care and have removed and then pay the $350 to have it tested. And the VA doesnt care one bit! The sad part is that I am in good health but so many need help and get nothing!!! Nothing will be done. The facility I visit is a full facilty that even does surgery and they only have 1.5 doctors on staff!!! Scary. I have had 5 different doctors in 5 years and actually only seen 2., They others have left before I ever got there! Wake up and do something!!

cowboyup

May 19, 2014 - 2:46pm

That is very dishonorable by the VA making you wait this long. Your a Veteran of the United States of America and bygolly somone needs to be fired for allowing you to have to pay out of pocket for medical services you have earned and fought for. Idiots, every one of them should be asahmed of how they treat those who protected them when our Nation calls.

Jennifer L. Smith

May 16, 2014 - 11:49pm

I strongly agree with our National Commander. This 'resignation' is just more organizational slight-of-hand. I contend that we do have decent people that work for the VA in various positions and locations but who are trapped in and constrained by a corrupt system. Moreover, those in the highest tiers of VA leadership appear more focused upon unethical resource management (i.e. finding legal loopholes to cheat veterans and their families) than care for our Comrades. These diversionary tactics must end; Comrades are suffering greatly due to such behavior, with some dying via disease or suicide due to lack of proper care and/or compensation. Of course, what does one expect when oversight of the VA is limited to it's own internal reviews? It is a ridiculous business model and an injustice to those patriots deserving of far better.

DaMadOne

May 17, 2014 - 1:40am

Yes Jennifer I agree there are some really good and dedicated employees in the VA medical system but there are a few that really need to go and not just upper management. I called the patient advocate today to request an ortho appointment and a new primary care at the main hospital. They told me it would be 8 months for the ortho appointment and mentioned I would need a referral from my present primary care in order to be assigned to a new one. Luckily my SSDI and medicare kicked in this month. I already met with my new orthopedist today and I am scheduled for surgery in 90 days to have my hip replaced and we discussed which replacement hip would be best for me. No it's not metal on metal. VA ortho determined my hip need to be replaced back in Jan 2008 and back then the wait time was only 3 or 4 months. It's like I figured they came up with too many excuses to point me away from what I thought ........a procurement problem. From my engineering experience before I got too bad I know the signs of manufacturing defects. Monday I meet with a different primary care and we are going to get some lab work and cultures done. No ortho and the new primary care are not in the VA medical system. At this point, after 9 years of this stuff, it will probably be some time before I return to another VA facility again unless there is drastic change. With all the problems I have I need medical care not medical politics or excuses. After watching the reports of scandal throughout the US. I am done.

Jennifer L. Smith

May 17, 2014 - 2:35am

Comrade: I am very sorry you are going through such issues; Not acceptable. I contend that leadership sets the tone (relating to a variety of questionable actions) and it is often followed by a number of subordinates -- These can be on several levels. Moreover, and in addition to the previously mentioned organizational management shortfalls, I assert that part of the problem is too few hospitals and CBOCs for patient care. Of course, as Benjamin Disraeli aptly stated, "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics." I have found a great deal of data skewing in several areas regarding the VA, so unsure if this problem will ever be studies objectively or remedied. Still, you have my best wishes and prayers, my brother-in-arms. I remain hopeful for all of us and give thanks that the VA hospitals have definitely improved service/care for at least some. I am very grateful for our comrades that are rightfully benefiting and getting what they earned in that regard. Also, glad the Legion cares enough to investigate these facilities, which speaks volumes to me.

DaMadOne

May 16, 2014 - 7:17pm

I agree. His resignation at this time is more of an early out or early retirement for a few months. I questions if this is just nothing more then a token showing by the VA and not any real indicator of the changes needed. Issues with ridiculous wait times have been reported more then 10 years now. I watched the hearings yesterday and I'm a little confused in that all the senators and people that testified yesterday claimed VA was top quality health care and that most vets would prefer it. Perhaps I live in an odd ball pocket in the US but most of the vets I encounter in my area would prefer to go else where with insurance or Medicare for those that qualify and those under retirement age that I see at the hospital are there because they have no where else to go because of no insurance. I could be reading things wrong but for some reason my primary care I was seeing seemed like he wouldn't request lab work when most doctors outside of VA would in making a diagnosis. Here I am just a layman with regards to medicine. I mention I am beginning to notice a problem with urination. No examination, no lab work, no xray or referral to a specialist and prescribes prostate meds. I've never had a urinary problem before so as far as I know it could be a small kidney stone or beginning bladder cancer. This is not an indication of the quality of medical care I heard people testifying about yesterday. Plus it's obvious that Shinseki has been misinformed and I do know one of the senators testified about these audits. The audit consist of asking a couple of employees and managers questions and didn't ask the vet patients. What organization in the world that is seeking improvement would not ask the end user or customer. I think ultimately what Shinseki or new VA secretary should do is a mass survey to find the real problems. Heck the postage would still be cheaper then relying on a marketing or consulting firm. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

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