Shinseki Resigns in Wake of VA Scandal
Written by Editor   
Thursday, June 05, 2014 08:04 AM

Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in the wake of the unfolding scandal over long wait times for care at VA health facilities.  In a news conference, President Obama said he had accepted Shinseki's resignation "with considerable regret." A growing chorus of voices on Capitol Hill -- including both Democrats and Republicans -- had been calling for the secretary to step down.

Shinseki's resignation comes in the wake of an ongoing investigation by the inspector general of the VA into alleged criminal misconduct at a veterans' healthcare facility in Phoenix. Allegations against the facility "include gross mismanagement of VA resources and criminal misconduct by VA senior hospital leadership, creating systemic patient safety issues and possible wrongful deaths," the inspector general's office noted in its interim report.

Investigators found 1,400 patients who didn't have primary care appointments and were appropriately placed on the Phoenix facility's electronic wait lists (EWLs); however, they also "identified an additional 1,700 veterans who were waiting for a primary care appointment but were not on the EWL. ... These veterans were and continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix [health care system's] convoluted scheduling process. As a result, these veterans may never obtain a requested or required clinical appointment."

Shinseki announced that senior leadership at the Phoenix VA facility was being replaced, and that wait times would be eliminated as a way to evaluate supervisors' performance.

VA deputy secretary Sloan Gibson will become the acting VA secretary while the administration searches for Shinseki's replacement, Obama said.