Sunday, December 28, 2014

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The Call Blog: Veterans Secretary Resigns, Focus Turns To Care Of Returning Soldiers

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President Obama vowed to fix it. President Bush did the same. And yes, President Clinton made the same promise as well. To blame one person for the struggles of the VA is wrong. America has failed our veterans. All of us.

President Obama accepted the resignation of embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki today. The resignation came after a damaging report revealed officials at facilities across the country were secretly operating waiting lists to hide the fact that veterans were waiting weeks for medical care.

At the White House today, President Obama vowed to fix the problem that's been systemic for years. A task force created by former President George W. Bush found 236,000 veterans were waiting six months or more for a first appointment or initial follow-up.

Nine million veterans get health care from the VA and four million receive compensation for injuries and illnesses, both physical and mental. The department runs 150 hospitals and more than 800 outpatient clinics across the country. Many veterans returning from war also struggle to find jobs and some 58,000 are homeless.

How would you describe the treatment and care veterans receive from the federal government? If you are a veteran or know one, what challenges are out there on any given day? Should President Obama share in the criticism facing Secretary Shinseki?

Send your thoughts using the link above.


The civilian healthcare system is a mess. Why wouldn’t the VA system be a disaster as well? The problem is we put a price tag on healthcare. We try to regiment a process that is free flowing and organic. The solution is to have universal healthcare for all. There is no need to have a separate system for veterans. We tried it. It doesn’t work. What we have to do is get the insurance industry out of the healthcare business, and put the doctors back in charge. The government provides free education to all. It is logical for it to provide healthcare as well. But that’s a big idea, larger than a little minds of Washington can accommodate.

Michael in Greenpoint

The resignation of Eric Shinseki in the growing VA Hospital scandal is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg! While the situation under his watch continued to grow,it started way before he was in this position.Now, heads need to roll ,and full accountability needs to be demanded. President Obama and Congress need to really crack down on those who were involved,and our veterans need to have much,much better treatment. They fought for our country,and their medical care should be A-one-without any ifs, ands or buts.It is an absolute disgrace that any veteran has to wait months and months for the well deserved and much needed and deserved medical care,as well as their disability benefits. It's time to pay the piper -NOW!

Fresh Meadows, NY

Hi John

Veterans should be treated better, they should have priority when it comes to housing every vet should have a home to go to because they fought for the USA. We all should say thank you to the Vets when we see them. Some people in NY have cold hearts that's not right i have a warm heart i believe in giving to anyone that needs help if i have it i will give.


He's blaming this in Bush too? When is he going to say he's holding himself accountable????


The veterans do not get the care, commensurate with the sacrifice they put up for this country. The politicians have ruined the system, with budget cuts to feed their pork rolls, with their lies, and their minions who get the administrative jobs and implement their own agenda. The administrators only care about a paycheck and try to avoid lawsuits. They should be tried as criminals and sent to prison or put on trial for negligent deaths. They are putrid and pride themselves on diversity in the work force, the hell with the veterans. That is their attitude. Since, when are we more concerned about an owner of a basketball team, then the lies and deceit of the Obama Administration?

Park Hill

As a nurse that has worked for the VA since the early 90's I can tell you that the worse challenge facing the VA is that it's a Federal agency. The politics, the hidden agendas, and the red tape that you hear about describing the govt' is a big problem at the VA. The Senior Executive Management members behave like the Republicans against Obama towards each other, and they get away with it. The mentality is "Meet those Performance Measures", no matter how you have to do it.

I have seen great improvements in the 20+ years I have been there, but we still have a long way to go. The sad thing is I have seen the most improvement under General Shinseki. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to him and he genuinely seemed to care. If anyone could have improved the system, I think it would have been him.

There are many dedicated professionals that take as good care of the Veterans as they can when they are severely under-staffed and under appreciated. The short staffing on the in-patients units leads to many falls and injuries at a time when there are many age 90+ patients, the World War II Veterans that are still alive. It breaks the hearts of those of us that really care about the patients, but there is absolutely no support from the top. I am glad that finally someone is looking into the management of the VA system.

Anonymous...... because I need my job

Hi John,

I find all of these goings on with our Veterans very disturbing/disheartening and inhumane. I for the life of me can’t believe that none of these politicians were never aware of these horrible situations going on towards our great veterans. They do have a committee and also when all of these hot shot politicians run for office don’t they consider the veterans. I assume they stoup so low as to campaign for their votes on election day. I’m sure that they have gotten complaint letters about many, many problems the veterans have been having which includes their appointments, medicine and so on. Also how did the people get special treatment by getting in front of the line so to speak. Corruption for sure. Also anyone that had money they would pay cash and they are just as guilty to do this to another veteran. On top of all of these obstacles they must endure they are homeless and jobless and ailing besides and yet everyone in charge that vote sending them to battle make a blind eye and turn on a deaf ear.

By firing this guy in charge will not help the cause at all. So all of these people in charge that allowed this to happen they should go up the food chain and just clean house starting with all of those in charge that have the authority to sign the bogus paper work in order to allot their employees to continue to get amenities. I as many others feel as well and that is how can a civil servant be entitled to a bonus. Do these bonus’ get included in their retirement? A law should be passed that if an employee is involved in anything like this they should lose their retirement completely along with their job.

Thank you John,


What has reportedly been happening to the veterans is a gigantic disgrace. I hope that the VA can make progress. But since all they have to choose from is more of the likes of Shenseki and his cohorts, I'm not optimistic.

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