Archived: Shinseki Resigns Following 'Systematic Problems' With VA

By Julissa Catalan

On Friday, President Obama announced the voluntary resignation of Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, in the wake of the patient-care crisis involving the systemic delay in healthcare provided to veterans.

Following the department’s initial review, it has been determined that the misconduct is not limited to the Phoenix VA hospital, but spans across the country, the President announced at a press conference.

Click here to watch President Obama’s announcement.

Hours before the resignation announcement, Shinseki publicly addressed the scandal to a veteran-filled audience, where he apologized and vowed to make effective changes immediately. The changes he promised included firing senior leaders of the Phoenix VA, where it was found that roughly 1,700 veterans were taken off an official list for treatment and were kept waiting for more than six months for an appointment. Shinseki also said performance bonuses for senior executives would be suspended, and that each waiting veteran would be contacted for an appointment.

Immediately following, he then met with President Obama in the Oval Office for a “serious conversation.”

“I don’t want any veteran to not be getting the kind of services they deserved,” Obama said in an interview broadcast on LIVE with Kelly and Michael. The President went on to say that he would be asking Shinseki if “he is prepared and has the capacity to take on the job” of fixing the system.

Both Shinseki and the President agreed the secretary had become a distraction, and in order to make the necessary progress with the VA system it “needs new leadership.”

“We don’t have time for distractions,” he continued. “We need to fix the problem.”

The President went on to say there was “a need for a change in culture” at veterans hospitals “and perhaps the VA as a whole” to make sure these types of problems and “bad news” no longer get brushed under the rug, but rather addressed immediately.

Click here to watch Shinseki’s address, hours before the announcement of his resignation was made.

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