Politics

Rick Scott, Florida Congressmen Aim at Sinking Eric Shinseki at VA

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: May 29, 2014 3:55 AM
Rick Scott and Eric Shinseki

Rick Scott and Eric Shinseki

With reports of secret waiting lists at veterans medical centers across the nation, Republicans from Florida continue to pressure the federal Department of Veterans Affairs even as a new poll finds voters souring on the department and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. 

On Wednesday, insisting the federal VA department was “stonewalling” efforts from the state government, Gov. Rick Scott announced he would launch a lawsuit to ensure Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) can inspect VA hospitals across the Sunshine State.

“As the chief health policy and planning entity for the state that licenses, inspects, and investigates consumer complaints, AHCA should be allowed access to federal VA hospitals to inspect their processes and their facilities,” Scott said on Wednesday.

“On seven separate occasions at six federal VA hospitals, however, state inspectors have been blocked by federal officials from carrying out their mission of ensuring facilities in Florida meet the health-care needs of our veterans. I have asked AHCA to sue the federal Veterans Affairs agency to shine a light on their activities and protect the lives of our heroes who have earned nothing short of access to the best care possible.

“With 1.5 million veterans that call Florida home, we’re committed to being the most veteran-friendly state in the nation – and reports of deaths, neglect, poor conditions and a secret waiting list in federal VA hospitals in Florida are unacceptable,” Scott added.

Last week, Scott called for Shinseki to resign. The governor renewed his efforts on Wednesday.

“To date, Sec. Shinseki has refused to step down, our inspectors continue to be turned away, and none of the information we’ve asked for has been provided,” Scott said. “Transparency and accountability are critical to supporting our veterans, and this suit will fight the federal VA’s continued practice of stonewalling our inspectors.”

Scott is not alone in demanding Shinseki’s resignation. Five Republican congressmen from Florida -- Rich Nugent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dennis Ross, Steve Southerland and Ted Yoho -- sent a letter to U.S. Veterans Affairs Sec. Eric Shinseki at the end of last week, urging him to resign. Shinseki is under fire as reports emerge about secret wait lists at VA medical centers across the nation.  

“Like many Americans, I’ve been infuriated by news reports alleging that veterans died while hidden away on secret waiting lists,” said Southerland on Friday. “To restore the trust of America’s heroes, the people who did this must be held responsible and it better happen now. Accountability starts at the top. That’s why I’ve sent a letter to Sec. Shinseki demanding his resignation. If the secretary refuses to resign, then I expect President Obama to show the leadership our veterans deserve and replace Sec. Shinseki with someone who will clean this mess up.” 

After the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general released a report about the waiting lists on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called for Shinseki to resign.

“Today the inspector general confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt what was becoming more obvious by the day: wait time schemes and data manipulation are systemic throughout VA and are putting veterans at risk in Phoenix and across the country,” Miller said on Wednesday. “ Right now, there are two things that need to happen. Attorney General Eric Holder should launch a criminal investigation into VA’s widespread scheduling corruption and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should resign immediately.

"Shinseki is a good man who has served his country honorably," Miller continued, "but he has failed to get VA’s health care system in order despite repeated and frequent warnings from Congress, the Government Accountability Office and the IG. What’s worse, to this day, Shinseki – in both word and deed – appears completely oblivious to the severity of the health care challenges facing the department. VA needs a leader who will take swift and decisive action to discipline employees responsible for mismanagement, negligence and corruption that harms veterans while taking bold steps to replace the department’s culture of complacency with a climate of accountability. Sec. Shinseki has proven time and again he is not that leader. That’s why it’s time for him to go.”

A new poll shows the Florida Republicans have the wind behind their back as a majority of voters see the VA department in a negative light and want Shinseki to resign.

A poll from Rasmussen Reports released Wednesday finds 62 percent of likely voters view the VA department unfavorably and only 26 percent view it as favorable. The same percentage -- 62 percent -- believe President Barack Obama and his top aides were aware of the problems at VA before the news broke. Only 27 percent want Shinseki to stay while 42 percent say he should resign.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken from May 25-26 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. 

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.


Comments (7)

skip A
10:35PM JUN 9TH 2014
where are the 42 VA facilities located ??? OK where is Phoenix ??
where is Mccain from ???? DAAA he did not know this was in his home state??? yeah, spent to much time with that b----tch from Alaska to care about us veterans
Frank
11:35AM MAY 30TH 2014
Gee . . . was it only February when GOP Senators rejected a VA bill to expand healthcare for veterans, complaining that it would cost too much (and we'll now see whether they will do that again as the bill is being re-introduced) . . . . the original bill would have expanded VA health care access, tuition assistance, and job training for veterans . . . . yet the GOP killed it after initially voting for it . . . . . partisan hypocrites, just like Rick Scott's shrill, illegal and meaningless attempt to bully his way into federal facilities . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
skip A
1:04AM MAY 30TH 2014
where the 42 accused VA hospitals located???? Vietnam era vet,
been takened care for at Baypines, hip replacement, shoulder replacement, broken bones, Ceva blood clot treatment, Baypines is florida list the 42 for us my dear friends have been taken care with
no wait in line for the 13 years I have lived here in Clearwater fl where are the 42 located
more propaganda from an insider
7:01PM MAY 29TH 2014
Just more influence from an another Muslim doctor " Consultant Psychiatrist" insider at that - trying to cover up the massive abuse of our veterans.

Why have we allowed these people to infiltrate our armed services in the first place? Is it the Bush machine Saudi Islamist support?

Remember this did not start with Obama this VA lack of integrity was well under way in the George W. Bush regime.

Nov. 5, 2009 - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, who had been in the service since 1995. An Army psychiatrist facing deployment to one of America’s war zones killed 13 people and wounded 30 others on Thursday in a shooting rampage with two handguns at the sprawling Fort Hood Army post in central Texas, military officials said.

This one hails from:

Va Mental Health Clinic 790 Veterans Way
Pensacola, FL 32507

Dr. Hassanin is a local physician in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Hassanin is also licensed in the following states: as Md in Maryland, as Md in New Jersey, as Md in California, as Md in Hawaii and as Md in New York. Arabic speaking people will also be accepted at the office. The doctor's education includes studying Medicine at the Faculty Of Medicine (from Sep. 1981 to Nov. 1987).
Hanan Hassanin, MD, PhD, MBA
5:29PM MAY 29TH 2014
Dear Honorable Governor Scott & Florida Congressmen:
Thank You for Your Commitment to Florida Citizens’ & Veterans’ Heath. Honorable Governor Scott & VA Secretary H.E. General Shinseki are Fine Leaders who have Sincere Dedication to Excellence in Healthcare, working towards the same goal from a different angle.
Let us keep working together to accomplish progress in Florida Citizens’ & Veterans’ Heath. I hope for Honorable Governor Scott’s & Congressmen’s Continued Support for H. E. VA Secretary: General Shinseki.
I appreciate VA Secretary H.E. General Shinseki’s Distinguished, Progressive, Fine, Brilliant, Outstanding & Leadership of the VA System. Secretary Shinseki Spearheaded VA Strategic Planning & Numerous Projects to Develop the VA System in Different Domains. The Excellent Electronic Medical Records System developed in the VA under Secretary Shinseki is one of the Best in Healthcare in USA & is of Tremendous Value, in light of the High Demands on the VA System. This is only one example of Numerous Successful Developments in the VA System. General Shinseki’s Creative Corporate Entrepreneurship in The VA System is Brilliant. I hope for H.E. VA Secretary General Shinseki’s Continued Excellent Leadership as Secretary of the VA System.
Dear Honorable Governor Scott: Thank You for Your Commitment.
V/R,
Hanan Hassanin, MD, PhD, MBA
DABPN, FAPA, DFAACAP
Consultant MBA, Consultant Psychiatrist.
Faculty USUHS.
Frank
2:09PM MAY 29TH 2014
Just call him "Unconstitutional Rick" . . . . what doesn't he understand about the Supremacy clause of the Constitution . . . . . . and he's supposedly a lawyer . . . . he knows better . . . . . new Rick Scott politics of the "Big Lie" . . . . . . he's building quite the record of attempting illegal actions . . . blanket state employee and welfare recipient drug testing, voter purges/suppression, the Affordable Care Act, immigration and the like . . . . and now this . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Richard
6:54AM MAY 29TH 2014
Rick Scott can not help himself. When you mention the key word "hospital" he smells blood in the water!

Remember he was a Dallas, Tx Bush family lawyer (Johnson and Swanson) and partners with George W. in the Texas Rangers. In 1987 when Miguel Recarey fled the US (in the first largest Medicare Fraud case in US history) as [IMC] International Medical Center's Medicare Fraud schemes were coming apart - Jeb summoned Rick Scott and Richard Rainwater [both on the GW Bush list of pay to play] to pick up the pieces of their schemes. The results "the largest Medicare Fraud case in US history" Rick Scott took the 5th seventy-five times! And not one person has ever gone to jail for all of these stolen billions in our tax dollars! Recarey fled to South America. Jeb Bush began his push for charter schools to his for profit friends and his major push for Common Core New World Order training for America's youth. And Rick Scott went to the governor's office.

But, every one of them deserve one more term! I suggest fair trials and 20 years to life!

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