CALLED ON THE CARPET
VA Secretary Shinseki Subpoenaed in VA Scandal
By Harold Hutchison
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has been subpoenaed by the House Veterans Affairs Committee as a growing scandal involving the failure to provide medical care to veterans is hitting the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shinseki, a retired Army general, was appointed in 2009 to head the department.
According to media reports, at last 40 veterans died when the VA Medical Center in Phoenix left them waiting on a secret list. Since the initial reports, there have also been repots of evidence being destroyed, including one report of a waiting list being shredded.
There have been reports of care issues at the VA for over a year, including a backlog of cases. Other reports have centered around the heavy use of prescription painkillers, a Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in the Pittsburgh VA that killed five people, and other patient deaths in the Atlanta VA.
In a statement released before the subpoena was issued, House Veteran’s Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) said, “Right now, President Obama and Sec. Shinseki are faced with a stark choice: take immediate action to help us end the culture of complacency that is engulfing the Veterans Health Administration and compromising patient safety, or explain to the American people and America’s veterans why we should tolerate the status quo.”
The American Legion has called on Secretary Shinseki to resign. To date, Shinseki has refused to heed those calls.