FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2014
Lanham, Maryland. – Following today’s announcement of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation, AMVETS and National Executive Director Stewart M. Hickey released the following statement.
“We are saddened but not surprised at Eric Shinseki’s resignation today. He is an honorable man whose dedication and service to our country and veterans is beyond reproach. Shinseki’s leadership and vision to deliver veterans with the highest quality care were bringing the Department of Veterans Affairs into the 21st century. His focus on veterans included directing the adoption of solutions that directly addressed the known problems including developing the capabilities to digitize claims and implement procedures and capabilities to better manage patient schedules and reduce wait times. Unfortunately, Shinseki’s legacy at the helm of the VA will forever be tainted by the shameful performance and failures of VA employees and managers. Shinseki, as the honorable man that he is, is accepting full responsibility and blame for the problems at VA but he is not the one within VA who should be gone. Shinseki’s trust in the VA was betrayed. The systemic problems are the result of the lack of integrity of nearly every member of VA’s career bureaucrats, especially the VISN and hospital management layers who failed him by withholding crucial facts, disregarding directives and policies, hiding bad news, falsifying documents and otherwise lying to convince him that the serious, systemic issues were merely isolated incidents to be ignored.”
“Shinseki’s removal further complicates, not solves the VA’s problems. With their staunchest champion gone, the trust of America’s veterans will come at a high price for the new VA Secretary. The VA bureaucracy needs a total overhaul; the type of reform that changes the very culture of the VA from complacency and mistrust to the full accountability for the care and well-being of our nation’s veterans. The VA’s new leader must take swift and decisive action to further adopt viable solutions that truly fix the systemic problems, and keep the quality care of veterans within the VA system. The new leader must also immediately discipline and remove the employees responsible for mismanagement, negligence and corruption.” – Stewart M. Hickey, AMVETS National Executive Director
For more news from AMVETS and the solutions to fix VA healthcare, please visit: www.amvets.org.
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