Corker Says VA Problem Much Deeper Than 1 Person; Chuck Fleischmann Also Responds To Shinseki Resignation

Friday, May 30, 2014

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statement Friday regarding the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki:

“I appreciate Secretary Shinseki’s military and public service to our country, and while a change in leadership was necessary the problems run much deeper than one person,” said Senator Corker. “The administration must work with Congress to solve the chronic, systemic problems that exist within the VA so that our nation’s veterans can receive the quality and timely care they deserve.”

Senator Corker and Senator Lamar Alexander recently wrote to Secretary Shinseki calling on the VA to conduct a “thorough, open and transparent” audit following reports of neglect at some medical facilities, including allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delayed care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The senators urged the department to consider using a third-party auditor to ensure the review “is independent and transparent," and also asked the VA to provide specific information regarding the average time Tennessee veterans are waiting for care at VA facilities.

The senators also wrote to Under Secretary Petzel, who has since resigned, requesting an update on the implementation of recommendations made in an October 2013 VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report entitled “Healthcare Inspection Emergency Department Patient Deaths Memphis VA Medical Center (MVAMC) Memphis, Tn..”

Last week, Senators Corker and Alexander joined 23 of their Senate Republican colleagues in requesting an immediate Senate investigation “into reported mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption” within the VA health care centers throughout the country.

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann released the following statement:

“I would like to thank General Shinseki for his years of service to our nation.  However, his resignation alone will not fix the systemic problems within the VA. The men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedoms deserve the absolute best care. I have seen firsthand the inefficiencies within the system through my experiences with my father, and I have worked to increase veterans’ access to first-class care with the opening of three new VA clinics in East Tennessee. However, there is still much more that must be done to fix this flawed system. I am hopeful the President will work with Congress to implement real changes for our veterans.

"The VA scandal is the latest item on a growing list of the Obama administration neglecting and misleading the American people. Our constituents are angry with the administration’s refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing and address these critical issues in meaningful ways. It is deplorable that this latest offense comes at the expense of those who have given the most to our country, and we must fix this broken system."

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