U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson says it’s clear that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki made the right decision in stepping down Friday. But Isakson says Shinseki's resignation alone won’t solve the problems with veterans care. The real problem, he says, is the lack of accountability in the culture of VA facilities.
“Taking his resignation is not a solution -- it’s just a step along the way,” said Isakson. “What we need is a pervasive investigation of the entire VA system, route out the problems where they are and make the changes that are necessary. And do it expeditiously.”
A new report by the VA Inspector General found veterans died while waiting for care.
Isakson, who is a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, held congressional field hearings that found veterans died at the Atlanta VA center due to lack of mental health treatment. The U.S. Senator released a statement Friday saying he questioned Shinseki during a Senate VA Committee hearing on May 15, 2014 over the agency’s failure to clean up “widespread misconduct, malpractice, and scheduling manipulation, dating back as far as April 2010.”
Isakson says the problems with veteran care have been going on longer than President Obama has been in office. But he does blame the Obama administration for not paying attention to the growing number of complaints.
“It’s probably been a systemic problem within the VA for years. But I think the inattention of the administration once the problems became public, as early as last August of last year when I held the first field hearing, shows a lack of attention to a detail that should have been paid attention to.”
He says the VA must put a new system of accountability in place.
“It’s very, very frustrating that our veterans that have sacrificed everything for us have kind of been put aside in this VA scandal and I want to put our veterans back first,” said Isakson. And see to it that they get everything they were promised, and see to it that they get the best quality healthcare there is available to them.”
NPR reports Eric Shinseki resigned hours after saying he would work to fix "systemic" problems in the VA's health care system.