The VA Health Care Scandal Grows

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is sworn in on Capitol Hill Thursday. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is sworn in on Capitol Hill Thursday. Cliff Owen/AP

Calls for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki have turned from loud to deafening as word of a new scandal involving a Veterans Administration hospital in Albuquerque came across the transom. According to the Daily Beast, the Albuquerque VA is the latest hospital to be accused of maintaining a secret waiting list to cover up delays in treating veterans with serious and life-threatening illnesses. 

“The ‘secret wait list’ for patient appointments is being either moved or was destroyed after what happened in Phoenix,” according to a doctor who works at the Albuquerque VA hospital and spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast. “Right now,” the doctor said, “there is an eight-month waiting list for patients to get ultrasounds of their hearts. Some patients have died before they got their studies. It is unknown why they died, some for cardiac reasons, some for other reasons.”

Claims that untreated veterans have died premature deaths have turned a scandal into a full-blown crisis. In the past 24 hours, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Sen. Bob Kerrey have added their names to the growing list of politicians calling for Shinseki to step down. Over two weeks ago, both The American Legion and Concerned Veterans for America called for Shinseki's resignation.

Max Cleland, a former senator, disabled veteran, and the former administrator of the Veterans Affairs Department, defended Shinseki as a "truth teller to power" last week. Cleland also cited the reduction in the rate of homeless veterans and the massive enrollment of 2 million veterans in VA system as signs that Shinseki has been doing good work. 

This is neither Shinseki's first scandal nor the first for the beleaguered VA department. Back in 2003, the former general famously bucked assessments of the troop requirements ahead of the ill-fated invasion of Iraq. History proved him right, but Shinseki didn't weather the criticism leveled at him by administration hawks,retiring just four months after his testimony before Congress.

For the VA, this crisis has loud traces of the 2007 Walter Reed VA Hospital controversy, which involved not only delays in veteran care, but also decaying and poorly maintained facilities. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.