ERIC SHINSEKI STEPS DOWN AMID SCANDAL OVER DEADLY WAIT TIMES FOR VETERANS
U.S. President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs (VA) director Eric Shinseki in the wake of a major scandal involving deadly wait times for veterans at more than two dozen VA hospitals – including Dorn Veterans Hospital in Columbia, S.C.
“The breadth of the VA denial of service practice can only point to a systemic policy throughout the Department, a web that reaches at least the Cabinet Secretary level,” Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government wrote last week.
And this week Shinseki paid for that “systemic policy” with his job …
“That was Ric’s judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans, and I agree,” Obama said. “We don’t have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem.”
Wait … fix the problem?
Let’s rewind the clock seven years to November 2007, when then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama made VA reform one of the top priorities of his campaign.
“After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years,” Obama said.
“If only President Obama had taken these words seriously and acted on the Inspector General report detailing problems within the Veterans’ Association (VA) Health System that was published just prior to his inauguration in 2009,” Manning added.
Congressional “Republicans” seemed sated for the time being with Shinseki’s resignation …
“The denial of care to our veterans is a national disgrace, and it’s fitting that the person who oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs has accepted responsibility for this growing scandal and resigned,” U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
Ho-hum, moving on …
Some free advice for the federal government?
Perhaps it would be easier to care for our veterans if government stopped creating so damn many of them in the name of totally pointless foreign engagements.
Scapegoat. Nothing will change. Congress will pass a bs law that does nothing.
In addition to lifetime benefits, I wonder how many 0’s will be tacked onto his severance package?
He’s a retired four star general, his retired salary already has multiple zeros.
Has Haley offered him a job yet? He might feel more comfortable going South.
Carney’s gone also. Too bad their boss won’t resign.
Yes Jay, we know you don’t like the fact we have a black President.
Jay is racist? are you serious–
HEY! I’m not the only one who has noticed that there has been a shortage of collards and pinto beans the last few years. DAMN!
Some of my best friends eat collards and pinto beans.
A key component of the liberal doctrine is to bring race into every conversation. You people are beyond pathetic.
Why he only fired white dudes????….
Eric Holder a bigger Dumb@$$ than the 2 fools he let go, today….
Shinseki is white? Well, goddamn.
I bet you are keeping score, no matter what color he is…You’re a liberal…
Suzanne Rice lied, after our Ambassador and soldiers died…she got a promotion…why does she still have a job…RACIST????
I’m glad both the little bastards are gone, shame it won’t change anything. Shinseki sucked as chief of staff and he sucked at the VA. Carney was nothing but a fact and truth challenged mouthpiece for the administration.
I may never be able to forgive Shinseki for handing over the black berets to Big Leg Army back in the day…
I was wearing a maroon USASOC beret at the time though after the switch we wore them less and less in favor of a PC or a boonie cap when we could get away with it.
I was already out at the time, but the principle of the thing just galled the shit out of me. Fifty+ years of tradition out of the window, just to make everyone in Big Army feel fabulous about themselves.
We all thought we looked fhabulous! Not
We should have made them wear pink pajamas.
If you’re gonna be in combat, you ought’a clash! During the early part of WWII, if you washed out of Marine boot camp they put you in a baby blue suit and sent you home.
VA problems existed long before Shinseki arrived.
Absolutely correct, they were well documented and Shinseki did exactly squat to correct ANY of them.
My dealings with the VA have been excellent both with the doctors and the staff. This goes for treatment and scheduling appointments. Until 2 days ago, that is, and suddenly the phone system can’t connect to anyone to reschedule one appointment, but I think everyone is getting the lowdown from today’s news. So I just mailed a letter to “nudge” him to work me in — lucky for me it isn’t urgent but I just want to know when so I can plan an out-of-state trip.
Tom, sorry you feel that way but my experience with the VA is positive. It could be that it has been another of those lucky breaks that make my life better, and I have a nicer and better attitude to those less fortunate than me health wise — especially other veterans, and especially those who suffered from Vietnam (which I missed by only a few weeks).
Me too Colonel and as you know make a new appt. when you leave the immediate one. But the VA takes good care of me, they try their best but sometimes Sir, things fall through the cracks. One has to look out for the cracks; not like crack ROCK but administrative cracks, the VA is hugh and their hearts are full of the good thing.
But the promises these folks made did not come. Just like everything else Obama has said. He is a waste of time and space. An empty suit.
Carney is a white cockroach who just couldn’t swim in the diarrhea, and definitely couldn’t lie convincingly. Some of the commentators on Fitsnews can be somewhat good liars in posts, but when you are face-to-face with someone you have to be an excellent liar if you are speaking to me.
Well, it takes a fact and truth challenged mouthpiece to know one. So I guess you would be an expert.
Never met either of the SOBs.
“He got the job at VA because he openly opposed Rumsfeld and Bush not because he has demonstrated any proficiency as an administrator.”
I would give Four-Star General Shinseki a bit more credit – he did more than “openly oppose” them – he proved them totally and completely wrong and shined the light on yet another of their “war lies” – and was forced out for doing so.
Perhaps the inept bureaucracy at the VA needs a proficient administrator as you suggest – and perhaps that administrator needs to come from outside the military.
As Will has taken great delight in pointing out, retired general officers often make lousy administrators. The skills and leadership requirements for being a good commander and a good administrator are often very different. I would much prefer a captain who left the service after his first tour then spent twenty or thirty years in the health care industry as a VA chief than some general whose experience and temperament make them better suited to be a high school football coach.
As for Shinseki, the idea that he was forced out is incorrect, his retirement was announced more than a year in advance of his actual departure. He was a good field commander but simply out of his comfort and capability zone at the JCS or the VA.
And the troika dashes on. Meanwhile, the sound of lifting carpets and sweeping brooms is heard in the land.
Not only is lying and cooking the books systemic at the VA it runs the board in government, starting at the top.
What state agencies in SC can truthfully claim they are any better than what the VA has been shown to be?
To say FITS is reluctant to acknowledge his king’s downfall (that I predicted) is the epitome of under-statement…
How many times, just this week, have I had to drag FITS kicking and screaming, to report the collapse of his lord-Obama???
GT, are we hearing that comforting sound of a commode flushing in DC ? We should be hearing it in SC.
When Sheheen and Alvin Greene lost in 2010…that was your comode flush. Sorry you were too stupid to enjoy it…
Stay tuened in ’til Nov. You’ll get another chance.. especially in DC…Thanks Obama…LMAO….
????? — Is Little Miss Muffet not working today?
How about the LINOS (Legislators in Name Only) who repeatedly refused to fund the VA? You didn’t have any problem sending Soldiers to war on the credit card, but oh, when it came time to pay the bill, it was all about “fiscal responsibility”. You’re fired.
I don’t think funding is the problem. Plenty of bureaucrats making big checks, while soldiers died…Some of them got paid to kick the can down the road, so the Vets died before they got treatment…
Obama incompetence, could be on purpose, may be where you need to look….
I agree…much like that DSS thing.
Obama VA: Responsible for soldiers’ deaths, while collecting a bonus Obama gave ’em for killing off the caseload…(see practice for Obamacare)…
DSS: Democrat voter monsters, killing children…democrats trying to exploit another failure of a liberal program to feed their greed and political power…..
I know you are likely ignorant, so you don’t get the difference…so I don’t mind explaining it for you…
You fucking idiot. While I agree that Obama did not follow up on his promise IN 2007, to fix the veteran problem that fully existed during the Bush years, you have to be an asshole not to see Nikki, Koller, havng no oversite on DSS. I.E. NOT doing their fucking jobs.
You need to look way back before Obama. Question to ask our SC LINOS is why SC has the fewest VA health facilities per vet in the nation. Had no trouble getting funding for other things.
This is not a “either-or” problem and neither is the solution. The mismanagement is undeniable. But better management and oversight will not solve the VHA’s problems alone, nor more than efforts to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse will solve state and national financial problems alone (ask Sam Brownback how his efforts at this went). More money alone won’t fix broken policies, practices, procedures, and work culture. The diagnosis and solution is more complex than can be addressed by partisan soundbites. The recent IG report on the waiting times scandal is only a preliminary report on the problems and needs of the Veteran’s Health Administration. On the other hand, maybe we can also ask if there is anyone in SC interested in finding a political solution get healthcare for the uninsured, say like Gov Pence of Indiana did. I know, I know, he’s a RINO–but he’s not a LINO. He didn’t put his ideology or politics over doing the right thing for the people of his state; he did something other than posture and obstruct. Can you imagine?
Five year in a row the VA had excess funds. 450 million last year alone and 1 1/2 billion accumulated excess funds. Add to that the expense of duplicate and falsified records and the fraudulent bonuses paid out.
If you’re gonna post, at least get your facts straight. The VA has been funded at full, requested levels for 10 years. In each of those, it had excess carryovers of between $.5 and $1.6B. Funding hasn’t been the problem. Rank amateur management is the problem. What training do Admirals, generals, and now a banker have in manageing a 140-hospital health system? Now we see the results. They need to find someone who knows how to run a healthcare system. Period.
Wonder why the Feb 14 funding bill (S. 1982) failed to pass then? Guess it was that Iran sanction thing somebody tacked on to the efforts of trying to take care of vets. Admirals and generals don’t run hospitals etc BTW. Neither does Obama. Is the top always responsible in the end? Of course. But they don’t “run” facilities. What I really want to see is the ongoing list of fired administrators and directors–even department heads. Not holding my breath though.
The bill you refer to was for funding above current budget. Carryover this year will be $.6B. They still can’t spend what they got. You make so much sense. I agree. So I think we should find a retired hospital system manager and put her(him) in charge of the army. Might do as well as Shinseki.
You’re assuming the budget request was adequate. I seriously doubt it.
The opera aint over till the fat lady sings. Dozens more need to be fired!
I think this is unfair. My favorite Senator Lindsey Graham has always had the General’s back. Here’s a few of his many statements:
Jan 2007 – Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said just before the president’s televised address. “A month or two ago we found out the Army is broken, and they agreed that General Shinseki was right.”
This week – “Gen. Shinseki is a fine man,” said Sen. Graham.
So obviously, Gen. Shinseki has been treated unfairly, because he’s a close friend, and ally, of Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s finest elected official.
Now’s your chance to take Lindsay out…are you going to fail at that too????….just like your lord-god Obama fails at every thing…LMAO….
Yall ain’t worth a $#!* at nothin’….Hahahaha…
Jay “Bagdad Bob” Carney gone too…LMAO….
Democrat party is the Titanic, w Capt. Barry at the wheel, and Nov. is the Iceberg….Hahahaha…
Ol’ Big T told yall….
How ya’ like me now…..
Rats are jumping ship. And fuck Jay Carney.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. Big government cannot run a health program. That’s what the difference it makes.
You’re right. Here’s your Medicare contributions back. Go find your own health care.
Thank you! I had no idea you were in control. By the way, I DID have my own health care, and it was damn good. Not the piece Obamacare is.
Keep your hands off my Medicare!
There seems to be some commenters that are conspicuously absent
let’s shorten the wait times to get a claim approved –or denied–so it can be quickly appealed.
An initial claim may take up to a year, then you have 12 months to appeal. Then they look at it again and you decide whether you want DRO review or the traditional method for appeal. If you go the Decision Review Officer route, you wait many many months for a face to face hearing, then wait many many more months for the DRO’s decision. Then you have 90 days to appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Then you can wait a year or more to have a Board hearing. Then you wait 1-2-3 years for the Board’s decision, usually a remand back to the VARO in Columbia. This is the VA Regional Office.
Sheeeeesssshhhhhhhhhhhh ! And if you are an attorney and you win the case after filing the Notice of Disagreement, you get to wait an additional 90 days to get a fee.
The VA is a systemic joke, a mess. Vets have to pay bills, meet their obligations, but the VA in Columbia takes its good old time. Writing Lindsey does not help. Talking to Trey does not help. The delays are endless. It seems the VA wants these guys to die while waiting so they do not have to pay the claim. In fact, my brother did. When a vet dies, the claim dies.
Columbia needs to clean house.
Hospital administraters are as well trained to lead a combat operation as generals are to run hospitals.
Won’t change anything, sadly the VA has been terrible for many years, both under republican and democratic presidents.
A much simple idea, I suggest. Stop going to war. The US goes to war for corporations. Great way for the tax-payer to fund it, corporations get the benefit. Vererans suffer, nothing new here. I ask, who benefits ??? Easy to see who controls America. A sad time we live in. !!!
I really don’t mean to be rude, but what should we have done when England was being pummeled by Hitler, mistaking that we were weak, and the Japanese had had enough of F. Roosevelt’s lies, mistaking that we were weak? – stand on the beach and shout, “sorry!” to the dive bombers and strafers, hoping they would go away? I pray we will never have another war, but I fear we will always have them because people think we aren’t willing to fight.. like now.
In a remarkable move, the VA is “looking” at a solution which would include a type of voucher system for vets stuck in a backlog. If this is not a head-fake, (and it could very well be) then it is a start – but it is only a start.
In order for this system to work, a couple of things have to be stressed:
• The proposed “help” would only kick in, when a VA facility fails to serve a vet on time. Well, who the hell is going to admit to that?
• How long will that “on-time assessment” period take?
As you can see, the hybridization of the VA system with a voucher system will have pitfalls which could easily amount to no progress whatsoever. Why not, instead, do the following:
1. Right Now, as John Leboutillier said last week, simply hand out credit cards to every vet, guaranteeing the payment of any medical service except for non-combat-related cosmetic surgeries. All dental, all devices, all drugs, all psychiatric, all combat-related cosmetic surgeries, EVERYTHING, covered.
2. Move all funds to actually paying for the vets bills that come in through the credit card system. Almost all of this could be done by computers – but not set up by Michelle Obama’s friends.
3. Close all VA hospitals. Scour them with germ-killing chemicals, and sell them to private, local Doctors or other reputable private local groups – not to multi-billion dollar conglomerates.
4. If the VA hospitals cannot be sold, they should be torn down and turned into parks, all with markers dedicated to the fighting men and women who were killed by the VA’s stupidity and inefficiency.
5. Use the current budget to move former VA workers into other jobs.
6. What few workers remain – mostly doctors with math skills – can be sent out into the nation to audit private medical systems, too keep the system honest.
7. The entire system could be handled with a staff of 800.
8. Forget Obamacare, once and for all – that’s what our vets have been getting!
The point is not to save money, although these ideas very possibly could. The idea is to use what money there is to treat vets, not run a big bureaucracy.
My Grandfather, a decorated veteran of WWI & II, died well ahead of his time
because of an inefficient VA system. My brother, a decorated Air Force spy, died much before his time because of a slow, well-meaning, and inefficient VA system. My father, a decorated WWII veteran, lived into his 90’s because he avoided VA hospitals. What that tells me, on this Memorial Day Weekend, is that government medicine has NEVER worked for vets. EVER. The system I have proposed is little different from what many others have proposed already. IT WILL WORK. It is the least we can do.