Saturday, May 31, 2014

Eric Shinseki Resigns Over Veterans Affairs Healthcare Scandal

This filthy TRAITOR should now be immunised and forced to cough up everything he knows about the VA death lists and the murder of military Veterans; names, hospitals, dates, and who had prior knowledge of this  program of LIES, DECEIT and PRE-MEDITATED MURDER OF OUR VETERANS    

By Dan Roberts

President Obama has accepted the resignation of his embattled secretary of veterans affairs after an admitted failure to prevent a systemic cover-up of dangerous backlogs in waiting lists across the nation's largest hospital network.

TRAITORS: Today Shinseki, next up Obama impeachment
Eric Shinseki, a former army chief of staff who famously stood up to Donald Rumsfeld over Iraq troop deployments, becomes the second Obama cabinet member in two months to be forced out over a failed government healthcare program.

But unlike Kathleen Sebelius, who was allowed to stay on as health and human services secretary while fixing chronic problems with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, Shinseki was forced out just weeks after revelations began to emerge of falsified records at a VA healthcare facility in Phoenix. Sloan D Gibson, the deputy undersecretary for veterans affairs, will take over as acting secretary.

Gibson, who Obama said would have a "steep learning curve" as interim secretary and may be replaced within months, is a former infantry officer and banker who joined the VA as Shinseki's deputy just seven months ago from the United Services Organization, a non-profit which provides entertainment and services to troops.

After receiving preliminary investigations – both from the independent inspector general and Shinseki himself – pointing to similar “systemic” problems elsewhere in the network of public hospitals treating 10m veterans, Obama bowed to overwhelming political pressure and decided to replace Shinseki after an hour-long meeting at the White House on Friday.

Where it all began:  Phoenix VA
After receiving preliminary investigations – both from the independent inspector general and Shinseki himself – pointing to similar “systemic” problems elsewhere in the network of public hospitals treating 10m veterans, Obama bowed to overwhelming political pressure and decided to replace Shinseki after an hour-long meeting at the White House on Friday. "A few moments ago the secretary offered me his own resignation, and with considerable regret, I accepted it,” the president said after confirming that the investigations had found “misconduct was not limited to a few VA facilities but many across the country."

But Obama paid extensive tribute to Shinseki's other accomplishments at the department and acknowledged that political and media pressure had played a major part in his reluctant decision.

“[Shinseki] does not want to be a distraction because his priority is to fix the problem and make sure the vets are getting the care they need... and I agree, we don't have time for distractions,” said the president. 

Homeless Veterans didn't have a chance with VA medical
Asked if Shinseki had become a political scapegoat, he added “the distractions were in part political”.

The president, who sat on the Veterans Affairs committee while serving in the Senate, also painted a bleak picture of the giant organisation responsible for support for veterans and their families.

 It was a "big organisation that's had problems for a very long time,” said Obama, revealing that his White House investigator Rob Nabors found the problems with recording waiting lists were compounded by “computer systems dating back to 90s."

He also inadvertently referenced one of the underlying reasons for the overstretch, suggesting there may need to be a “surge” of doctors to help treat the backlog of veterans.

Surges of troops into both Iraq and Afghanistan have greatly added to the burden on VA facilities as have decisions by Shinseki to recognise more post-traumatic stress cases and exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam war.

Navy Vet Thomas Breen died waiting on VA "Death List"
At least 116 members of Congress have called for Shinseki's resignation in recent days, including 35 Democrats, though House leaders Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner previously both expressed concern that his departure may not solve the problem.

But a growing sense of betrayal among veterans themselves has built in recent days, leading even close allies such as Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a former VA official who lost her legs while serving in Iraq, to demand Shinseki’s replacement.

Shinseki pledged to take personal responsibility for “a systemic, totally unacceptable, lack of integrity” in veterans healthcare facilities on Friday, just minutes before the hastily scheduled White House meeting with the president.

Speaking to a conference of homeless groups, the veterans affairs secretary revealed that his internal investigation had now confirmed a report by the independent inspector general that the problems spread far beyond initial revelations in Phoenix.

Evidence of a systemic cover-up of hospital backlogs was cited last week by the White House as a factor in determining how far up the chain of command accountability should go, but Obama said he wanted to see the IG and internal review before deciding how to respond.

In his most contrite public comments yet, Shinseki said he had previously been wrong to say the problem was limited and isolated, but claimed he had been “too trusting” of other officials in the department who misled him.

How many Veterans committed suicide waiting for treatment?
“I can't explain the lack of integrity among some of the leaders of our healthcare facilities.

“This is something I rarely encountered in 38 years in uniform,” the former army chief of staff at the homeless conference in Washington.

“So I will not defend it because it is indefensible, but I can take responsibility for it and I do.”

He added: “Given the facts I now know I apologise as the senior leader of the department of veterans affairs.”

Shinseki announced he was removing the senior leadership at the Phoenix medical facility where the scandal over cover-ups of lengthy waiting lists first emerged. He also asked Congress “to support Bernie Sanders' proposed bill giving VA's sec greater authority to remove senior leaders."

Earlier, Shinseki had struck a defiant tone before the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans event, receiving three standing ovations for describing his success in reducing veterans homelessness by 24% during his well-regarded time in office.

But despite saying we can still “do big things”, he embattled cabinet secretary went on to “address elephant in the room” in language that was an ominous preview of the meeting with Obama.

Many Vets now seeking treatment elsewhere
“After Wednesday's release of an interim IG report we now know that VA has a systemic, totally unacceptable lack of integrity within some of our veterans health facilities … our initial findings of ongoing internal review of other VA healthcare facilities also show that to be true,” said Shinseki.

“That breach of integrity is irresponsible, indefensible and unacceptable. I said when this situation began weeks and months ago that I thought the problem was limited and isolated because I believed that. I no longer believe it, it was systemic. I was too trusting and I accepted as accurate reports that I now know to have been misleading.”

He added: “Leadership and integrity problems can and must be fixed, and now.”

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