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Eric Shinseki Resigns Amid VA Firestorm

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    The latest hammer in the ongoing Veterans Affairs saga has dropped after President Obama accepted Secretary Shinseki's resignation this morning. The resignation is effective immediately, leaving Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson as the interim leader until the President nominates and gets a new secretary confirmed by the Senate.

    While Shinseki technically resigned, the President left no doubt that he had lost confidence in the Secretary and his ability to get control of the dire situation going on at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    This scandal is something that has to be addressed and one that is absolutely unacceptable, but I have to ask if this was just an inevitable consequence of sixty plus years of being the world's policemen. Our Vietnam and Korean Veterans, young men who fought when their country asked (or told) them to, should expect the Federal Government to hold up their end of the bargain. It can't help that we have thousands of more veterans who will be expecting our country to live up to its promises, as well. It also doesn't help that our leaders have no problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars sending our kids off to war, but only want to appropriate a small fraction of that to ensure they receive proper health care for the rest of their lives.

    What do you think of today's development? Should Shinseky have resigned earlier or is he the inevitable scapegoat for a systemic problem that can't be fixed by one person alone?
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    More than likely Secretary Shinseki was asked to fall onto his sword for the Administration in the hope it quells the firestorm, if the Administration were really seeking to correct a horrid situation then many other VA. Administrators must feel the ax also, and as for those who accepted those bonus's for not doing their jobs, at the very least they should be made to pay back the bonus monies and accept a demotion otherwise out the door , as for this being a ongoing boil, well it's time to lance this boil and squeeze the pus out and get on with the healing, when I bought my first house and my family outgrew it in a matter of 7 years, and when I sold it and it was discovered I had a cracked soil pipe in the basement all those years and now since I was the owner and the prior owner made no mention of it, if even he was aware of it, I was now responsible for it to be repaired even though it wasn't leaking, so this Administration has a leak and it must be repaired, fix it and then worry about how he missed the problem and make the necessary adjustments so something like this does not occur again.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    New York Times, May 29, 2014: Doctor Shortage Is Cited in Delays at V.A. Hospitals

    "At the heart of the falsified data in Phoenix, and possibly many other veterans hospitals, is an acute shortage of doctors, particularly primary care ones, to handle a patient population swelled both by aging veterans from the Vietnam War and younger ones who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to congressional officials, Veterans Affairs doctors and medical industry experts."

    “The doctors are good but they are overworked, and they feel inadequate in the face of the inordinate demands made on them,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “The exploding workload is suffocating them.”


    There are some 400 vacancies at thew VA for primary care doctors and they can't seem to attract doctors to join the VA.

    That is the crux of the problem...we can fire and fire and punish and punish, but until the VA can attract quality primary care doctors and keep them, nothing will change. Hire them from the private sector? Ha...they have a shortage too...and shorter work hours in private practice.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    You may be absolutely correct in believing the news article, but that does not excuse the bonus's paid out on falsified documents alluding to care being given when in fact it was not, that fact alone should warrant discipline up to and including dismissal . this problem of not enough doctors is a what came first situation, the chicken or the egg, some doctors who were interviewed say it is the bureaucratic maze and the countless policy wonks gone mad that makes the position so undesirable, the VA says it can't attract enough doctors because of the unattractive pay scale and work conditions, lost in the maze is of course the patients (the vets), why not make the pay with a portion of their outstanding Medical School Loans to be paid on a percentage basis on their length of employment, say like 10% for every year employed , in ten years their loan is paid and we had the advantage of having quality doctors on staff for any number of years. A win, win solution.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    johnny you are right and it seems like the bonus checks were far more important to some employees than delivering the health care that they were supposed to be delivering.

    Tonight they say that several employees in Phoenix will be fired and some others will not get their bonus checks. If that happens, and it should, it is only a start, although a good start.

    Pretty bad when money is more important than human lives in our VA system.

    Money makes people do evil things.