Rep. Lipinski Calls for the Dismissal of VA Secretary Shinseki and Reform of VA System

Statement from Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3):

“Following the release of the interim report from the Inspector General’s independent review of the growing VA scandal, it is becoming painfully clear that the problems extend well beyond the confines of one facility in Phoenix, Arizona.  VA Secretary Shinseki is a hero, who has served our country honorably for decades, but considering what has occurred under his watch, we owe it to the American people, especially our brave veterans, to begin a comprehensive review and reform of the entire VA operation with a change in leadership. 

"While I do not believe that Shinseki was directly involved in the creation of any of the waiting lists or the subsequent obstruction of information, this problem is the result of a failure in the VA to match up their directives with available resources.  If the agency is going to establish a 14 day maximum wait for veterans to see a doctor, then they must assure that there are the doctors, nurses, medical rooms, etc. necessary to see that volume of patients.  That is the responsibility of the highest levels of management, and in this case, that is Secretary Shinseki.  His dismissal would not be the solution to this widespread systematic failure, but I believe it is a necessary step towards restoring the American people’s faith in the VA.   

"The President should immediately nominate a capable individual to take the Secretary’s position, in order to assure strong top-level leadership at the VA, and the Administration and Congress need to do a thorough review not only of the management and care failures, but to ensure that we are effectively funding and resourcing the VA to handle the increased medical care demand they face.

"Locally, I will continue to direct my attention to the service our family, friends, and neighbors receive at the Hines VA facility.  And I call on all veterans to not be silent regarding problems they have encountered receiving care at Hines or any other VA health care center.”

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