May 30th, 2014
10:31 PM ET

Keeping Them Honest: Will Shinseki's resignation help fix problems at the VA?

After AC360 spent months reporting on the problems at VA hospitals across the country, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is resigning. President Obama made the announcement today, saying Shinseki did not want to be a distraction. But there are serious questions about what it will take to get America's veterans the care they need and deserve. Drew Griffin takes a look at the events that led to today's resignation.

Anderson looked at what needs to be done to fix the problems at the VA with Congressman Jeff Miller who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Dr. Sam Foote, who blew the whistle on problems at the Phoenix VA hospital.

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Filed under: Drew Griffin • Eric Shinseki • VA Investigation • Veterans
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. warthog6

    I've been waiting a week for new developments. Have you guys decided to just drop everything after spending the last year working on this? I'm a 100% service connected disabled veteran, and I need some visibility into my future here.

    June 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
  2. warthog6

    Shinseki is a sneaky lying traitor, and has lied to protect a conspiracy of murder, theft, and fraud.


    June 3, 2014 at 2:17 am |
  3. letodahl

    This whole VA controversy regarding Veterans dying while waiting for treatment goes a lot deeper than the American Public realizes, same with Congress; whom I also lay the blame on since they pass any and all legislation regarding Veteran Healthcare and Benefits. Even if the VA were to give those Veterans Vouchers to seek Medical Attention outside of the VA Hospital, odds are that they would still not have been able to acquire help from a Civilian Doctor, Dentist, or Medical Center. Often, VA Vouchers are not accepted since the VA has a bad track record of paying the Voucher in a timely manner (several months late), or the full amount of the cost the Voucher was made out for. Back in 1998, I had a serious Abscessed Tooth which could not be taken care of by the local VA Dental Clinic since there was no Oral Surgeon assigned to it. They tried to send me to see an Oral Surgeon out in town on a Voucher, only no Oral Surgeon would accept a Voucher (Promissory Note) due to the aforementioned issues. This went on back and forth for a couple of days. Luckily I am a 100% Service Connected Disabled Veteran also Retired on 100% Disability from the Navy; I was able to be seen by my Primary Care Physician, a Military Doctor at the local Naval Hospital, whom sent me to see the Oral Surgeon upstairs. I was rushed into Emergency Surgery to remove the Impacted Tooth and given strong antibiotics by IV due to septicemia setting in. Had I waited another day, I would have died, no thanks to Congress and the VA Healthcare System.

    Congress as a whole also has let the Veteran Community down in many other ways. Often, significant Omnibus Legislation concerning Veterans Health, Moral, and Financial well being has come up in both chambers of Congress only to die on the floor of both; the House of Representatives and the Senate, or during the Conference Committee where it's stricken from the NDAA Legislation (Defense Bill) under the excuse of "Sequestration"! Only because Congress has failed to pass an annual Federal Budget due to their rampant spending spree and two wars, 50% of the deficit is taken from the Defense Budget which only makes up 17% of Federal Spending. Simply put, balancing the budget on the shoulders of the Active Duty Military, Veterans, and Disabled Veterans.

    A good example of how congress let the Military & Veteran Community down time and time again perhaps starts with the Fiscal Year 2004 NDAA Bill.,specifically an amendment that served to change a law that was implemented in the past to reduce Federal Spending regarding the concurrent receipt of Military Retirement Pay and VA Disability Compensation after the Civil War. Concurrent Receipt of Disability Retirement Pay and VA Disability Compensation became law and was reinstated only for a for a specific group of Veterans effective on January 1, 2004. Only Veterans that have served at least 20 years of active duty in order to meet the requirement for regular retirement, and have a disability rating from the Veterans Administration of 50% or more were eligible. Military Personnel injured in Combat, Hazardous Duty, or Combat Training / War Games are eligible for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) or CRDP, which ever is more. For those Veterans whom served at least 20 years on Active Duty and had a Disability Rating below 50% from the VA, or Veterans whom were forced to retire from the military due to Service Connected Disabilities before being able to serve at least 20 years on Active Duty (Chapter 61's) were ineligible. Part of President Obama's 2008 Election Campaign promises to Disabled Veterans was to restore Concurrent Receipt of full Disability Retirement Pay and VA Disability Compensation for all Retired Veterans not previously included under the law, including Chapter 61 Veterans, and Wounded Warriors (in lieu of CRSC).

    It's a disgrace that Disabled Veterans (which include our Wounded Warriors) have to be piece-milled into three different categories regarding Legislation concerning Military Pensions, they are:

    (1) Worthy – Served 20 Years (15 Years under TERA – Early Retirement during Force Redux) with a VA Disability of 50% or higher.

    (2) Partially Worthy – Disabled in Combat, during Training, War Games, or Hazardous Duty and Served Less than 20 Years, eligible for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

    (3) Not Worthy – Served 20 Years with a VA Disability Rating less than 50%; or Chapter 61, Forced to Retire on Disability before serving 20 years (regardless if 100% disabled by both, Branch of Service and the Veterans Administration).

    We're talking about the full restoration of Military Disability Pensions (a.k.a Disability Retirement Pay) awarded to them from their respective Branch of Service's (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard) Physical Evaluation Board (P.E.B.), along with their VA Disability Compensation, which can result anywhere from a Hundred Dollars a Month upwards of Two Thousand Eight Hundred Dollars a Month since January 1, 2008. That's anywhere from $7,800.00 up to $240,000 as of June 1, 2014 already taken away from various Veterans largely due to the legislation being stricken from every NDAA Bill since FY2008 due to Sequestration. Yes, Congress is essentially Balancing the Budget on the backs of Veterans all the while claiming that America is taking care of their Veterans. Couldn't possibly tell you how many of the more seriously disabled Veterans that have since passed away while waiting on the full restoration of their Military Disability Pensions; which could only have significantly improved their overall quality of life and that of their families while they were still alive.

    P.S. Albeit that the American Tax-Payer pays for our wages and benefits, so do we ... for we are also Americans and have been paying taxes since we received our first Military Paycheck!

    May 31, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
  4. utahvet1989

    I am a younger veteran at 25 years of age i had a procedure done in fall of last year and the botched it i have been black walled after being told i was just drug seeking and faking my injury its now 8 months after the Botched proceedure and i am still unable to walk unless i use a cane or walker I am also not able to set up an appointment I an not being treated for this by the VA it is a service connected disability there have been many veterans classified like this help us as well

    May 31, 2014 at 3:49 am |
  5. bveltrop72

    I'm going to throw my two cents in here. My grandfather received his Purple Heart for a bayonet wound he got while hand to hand combat with a Japanese soldier at Rendova in the Solomon Islands during WWII. Growing up and during the early years of my nursing career no one wanted to go to the VA in Dallas. It was so bad you didn't send your dog to the Dallas VA! I had patients refuse to be transferred there even though treatment would be 100% covered. My grandpa lived nearly halfway between Dallas and Texarkana. He chose to go to Texarkana. So I'm not quite sure why everyone is so surprised. We heard about the poor treatment at Walter Reed and other facilities. The only faculty that I have been to that I was surprised by was the VA Palo Alto because it is associated with Stanford University Hospitals and Clinics. Even then the wait times were still long.

    May 30, 2014 at 11:51 pm |

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