Shinseki tells vets VA will regain their trust
- By FederalSoup Staff
- May 23, 2014
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki addressed allegations of VA employee misconduct in a message to veterans in advance of the Memorial Day holiday, and offered assurances that the department would re-earn veterans' trust.
"Allegations of VA employees’ misconduct have surfaced over the last several weeks, beginning with scheduling delays at the Phoenix VA Health Care System," Shinseki stated. "As I testified before Congress on May 15, I take any allegations about patient safety or employee misconduct very seriously. The reports of veterans’ negative experiences while seeking VA care are of great personal concern to me."
"In response to these allegations at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and a number of other facilities, the VA Office of Inspector General is conducting a comprehensive, independent review," he said.
"In addition to the IG’s independent review, I ordered the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to conduct a nationwide audit of all other major VA healthcare facilities to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, our appointment policy," he said. "That audit is being conducted now by more than two hundred senior VHA staff. All teams are independent of the facilities they are visiting."
As the same time, Shinseki cited President Obama's statement this week crediting VA employees for their work, and added his own praise for "the hard work and dedication of the vast majority of our VA employees, many of whom are veterans themselves."
He also reviewed VA's accomplishments in recent years, including enrollments of 2 million more veterans, reductions in veterans' homelessness, provision of Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits, the halving of the disability claims backlog, and the addition of new presumptive medical conditions for Agent Orange exposure, combat-related PTSD and Gulf War illnesses.
"Notwithstanding these accomplishments, VA will do even better." he said. "If any allegations under review are substantiated, we will act. As we approach our observance of Memorial Day and its special significance to our nation, VA is re-doubling its efforts, with integrity and compassion, to earn your trust."