Florida Congressmen Holding Off For Now on Demanding Eric Shinseki Leave VA

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: May 10, 2014 3:55 AM
Jeff Miller and Eric Shinseki

Jeff Miller and Eric Shinseki

This week, Daniel Dellinger, the commander of the American Legion, called for the resignation of U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, prompting responses of two senior congressmen from Florida on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Pointing to problems in the VA Department, including a well-publicized case in Phoenix where 40 veterans died waiting for care while the VA hospital altered lists to hide the long waiting time, Dellinger noted Shinseki was not removing officials.

Dellinger called for Shinseki’s removal, the first time the American Legion has demanded a federal resignation since 1978. Shinseki,who is expected to testify before the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, still retains the support of leaders of some veterans groups including the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, stopped short of calling for Shinseki’s resignation but insisted there was a “crisis of confidence with VA’s top leadership” and President Barack Obama should quickly take action. Miller said he would wait until the VA inspector general releases a report before deciding on whether Shinseki should go. 

“Make no mistake,” Miller said this week. “There is a crisis of confidence with VA’s top leadership, and the American Legion’s calls for the resignations of the department’s top leaders should be sending shock waves through the White House. I have the utmost respect for Commander Dellinger’s opinion, and while I am going to wait until VA’s inspector general releases its report on the situation in Phoenix before deciding to call for any personnel changes, this much is clear: for nearly a year, we have been pleading with top department leaders and President Obama to take immediate steps to stop the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and hold accountable any and all VA employees who have allowed patients to slip through the cracks. In response, we’ve received disturbing silence from the White House and one excuse after another from VA.

“Right now, President Obama and Sec. Shinseki are faced with a stark choice: take immediate action to help us end the culture of complacency that is engulfing the Veterans Health Administration and compromising patient safety, or explain to the American people and America’s veterans why we should tolerate the status quo,” Miller added.

But Democrats continue to support Shinseki, including a First Coast Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., said Shinseki’s efforts to review the VA Department were a step in the right direction.

“As a senior member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I support Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki’s announcement that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) will complete a nationwide access review,” Brown said on Thursday. “As stated, the purpose of this review is to ensure a full understanding of VA’s policy and continued integrity in managing patient access to care. As part of the review during the next several weeks, a national face-to-face audit will be conducted at all clinics for every VA medical center.

“The VA provides quality, timely health care to our veterans,” Brown added. “We have a duty to make sure that all those who have defended this country when called upon receive the care they have earned through their service. I support the secretary in his nationwide access review and look forward to hearing his report when it is finished.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (11)

9:09PM MAY 13TH 2014
How ironic is it that if the veterans who will otherwise die waiting for care were to assassinate those who prevent it, that will get them the treatment they need.

If a prisoner dies from being denied access to medical care, police and guards can be charged with murder, where as VA employees are not.

I hate to think what's going to happen when the 22 veterans per day that kill themselves realize they can finally get the same medical protection as cannibals, serial-killers, and mass murderers, if they just assassinate someone.

I bet there will be a lot more "secret lists" leading to preventable deaths. I doubt the veterans killing their murderers will be given bonus checks like their murderers are, but at least they'll get the medical care they need.
5:50AM MAY 13TH 2014
Accountability has been used like toilet paper and thrown overboard.

How predictable was it that those who are smart enough to try playing stupid would come to the defense of those who've been killing off our veterans, and that NOBODY GOING TO JAIL upholds accountability.

If a prison doctor allowed John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, or James Eagan Holmes to die by denying medical care, he would be charged with murder. For years, disabled veterans have been dying the same way, all across the country. Why has nobody been arrested? Why are politicians not even willing to call it a crime? Why is mass-murder and serial-killing (by the EXACT definitions of US Code and Arizona State Law) okay when the VA does it? How is it no longer criminal when they do it?

I'M COMPLETELY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS QUESTION: When will we get the same legal protections as those given to serial-cannibals, murder-cult leaders, and mass murderers who empty shotguns into kids and pregnant women?

I know it IS horribly out of proportion to compare VA Hospitals to these murderous felons. John Wayne Gacy wasn't entrusted to heal his neighbors, Charles Manson didn't swindle bonuses, and the Aurora Killer never tried to hide his crimes. They all may be vicious amoral degenerate monsters--but unlike the VA, once they did the deed, at least you knew what to expect from them.

ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT BEING "UPHELD." "ACCOUNTABILITY" is being murdered as unjustly as our disabled veterans.

If only our disabled veterans had been convicted serial-cannibal, murder-cult, mass-murdering, destroyer of women and children, maybe THEN somebody would be going to jail.

Til then, however, let this be a lesson to all doctors ready to walmart our disabled veterans into an early grave: "DON'T GET CAUGHT!"

Getting caught is so destructive to the appearance of credibility they all work so hard to pretend to care about.

Here's hoping a few veterans out there starts making a secret list of their own.
8:25AM MAY 12TH 2014
I'm not sure it really matters if they fire one guy. I have never read or heard anything positive about the VA healthcare system. It seems to me, the best thing to do with it, is tell veterans to go to regular hospitals, like everyone else, shut down the VA hospitals, and convert them to regular public hospitals. As far as I can tell, veterans get worse healthcare at the VA than they would get elsewhere.
8:22AM MAY 11TH 2014
The Bush oil wars has over crowed our VA hospitals in clinics. Even Bill O'Reilly and his track chairs for missing limb veterans received little public attention because he did not want to bring attention to the facts that the Bush's had abandoned our veterans once they got what they wanted. control of the oil fiends in Iraq. Try to visit Texaco oil bankruptcy and you will find George HW Bush and Sadam Hussein were partners. This is the first sealed bankruptcy in the good old USA!
Rosetta Bailey
3:55PM MAY 10TH 2014
What are they waiting for more of our veterans die unnecessarily?
What if it was their family that was waiting to see a doctor do you think he would wait to access the situation.
Men have died waiting for treatment or even to see a doctor. Men was waiting for their country to give them the service that they did for our country.
10:44AM MAY 10TH 2014
Rep Miller (R-1st district) [7th term] Armed Services Committee & Veterans Affairs Committee (Chairman); AND Rep Corrine Brown (D-5th district) [11th term] also Veterans Affairs Committee, HAVE BOTH BEEN ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH !!! THEY should have been the ones to bring this "VA Hospital" debacle to America's attention; Our Veterans deserve NO LESS ! Miller & Brown have been in Congress, attached to the "government mammary" for far too many terms and have forgotten their responsibilities and 'oath of office'....and THEY want to "prolong" VA Sec. Shinseki's "bad job" while looking for "reasons and avenues" to do so?!?!? GIVE ME A BREAK !!! Shinseki, a former military officer and veteran himself had but ONE DUTY at the VA: TEND TO VETERANS' NEEDS ! HE FAILED ! HE NEEDS TO GO ! (But, Miller and Brown NEED TO GO also, and their 'Committee' assignments need to be filled by responsible people who actually care (preferably veterans themselves). America is tired of the pettifogging politicians "running" (ruining) our States and our Country ! (TWO TERMS---AND NO INCUMBENTS AFTER THAT !)
Mike Seery
8:02AM MAY 10TH 2014
Starting at the top, possibly we should look at Rep. Miller also. He didn't immediately stand up for the Veteran's as he should, he didn't support the American Legion like he should - he has been charged to protect the Veterans of this country. He didn't even stand behind General Hickey when she came on board and noticed these problems and she attempted to fix these problems and many more; what did Rep. Miller do? He wanted to get rid of the General because it showed his neglect of the Veterans. It's the same old thing - let the Vet wait, deny him care and benefits and hopefully they will die and then the problem goes away. This is Rep. Miller's attitude as well as a lot of them at the top. "I'm sitting in my nice office and the hell with what I am here to do". Miller, Shinskei, Obama they all look the other way while those of us who put our lives on the line die off. It's time for some serious change and I do mean change.
don rahilly
7:26AM MAY 10TH 2014
It will do no good to demand the firing of ANYONE in the government. It just does not happen much less any discipline. Witness "fast and furious", IRS scandal, Benghazi scandal (to include the Contempt of Congress by Holder) and pleading by Lerner. The US government is a state of its' own. The people no longer control it.
kathleen huff
4:52AM MAY 10TH 2014
Bull Puckey!
I spent most of 2013 to try to get the VA in Lexington ky to helped.....I complained multiple times to 2 different patient advocates..changed primary care 3 times...I even provided medical proof thru records !from private doctors..PLEASE HELP! I'm sick of being treated like. Hypercondriac
kathleen huff
4:52AM MAY 10TH 2014
Bull Puckey!
I spent most of 2013 to try to get the VA in Lexington ky to helped.....I complained multiple times to 2 different patient advocates..changed primary care 3 times...I even provided medical proof thru records !from private doctors..PLEASE HELP! I'm sick of being treated like. Hypercondriac
don rahilly
4:51AM MAY 10TH 2014
It is about time someone in GOVERNMENT is disciplined. All of these scandals and no justice ever occurs. Has no one the guts to stand up and be responsible???? Fire those directly responsible and punish less severely those others less responsible. GET THE DAMN JOB DONE.

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