• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 5s

Veterans Affairs chief orders nationwide review of VA Medical Centers

By Rebecca Kaplan / CBS News 4:56 PM May 8, 2014

Embattled Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki is directing his agency to complete a nationwide review of clinics at VA Medical Centers across the country to assess veterans’ access to care.

“At VA, our most important mission is to make sure Veterans know VA is here to care for them and provide the high quality care and benefits they have earned and deserve,” VA spokesman Drew Brookie said in a statement Thursday. “The purpose of this review is to ensure a full understanding of VA’s policy and continued integrity in managing patient access to care. As part of the review during the next several weeks, a national face-to-face audit will be conducted at all clinics for every VA Medical Center.”

The VA says that Shinseki ordered the review before members of Congress began to call for it. The review is intended to determine whether all VA facilities are following the agency’s existing scheduling policies correctly.

Shinseki has come under fire in the wake of reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, which worked to cover up the long wait times by creating a secret waiting list and later destroying the evidence. A handful of top Republicansenators have demandedboth an investigation and Shinseki’s resignation.

“The president needs to find a new leader to lead this organization out of the wilderness, and back to providing the service that our veterans deserve,” Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s second-highest ranking Republican, said this week. The American Legion, which is the nation’s largest veterans group, and Concerned Veterans for America have also said he should step down.

Shinseki will face grilling from lawmakers next Thursday as he testifies before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He’ll likely testify before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the near future as well, as members voted Thursday morning to subpoena him.

Despite some calls for him to step down, Shinseki found a supporter in House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Thursday morning when he told reporters he was “not ready to joint he chorus” of people calling for the VA head’s resignation.

“The problems at the VA are systemic: It’s the backlog; It’s the preventable deaths that have occurred within their system. There is a systemic management issue that has occurred throughout the VA that needs to be addressed. And I don’t believe that just changing someone at the top is actually going to get the solutions that many of us are looking for,” Boehner said.He noted that the House is separately working on an accountability bill for the agency that would allow the secretary more discretion in firing underperforming managers.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who chairs the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has also said he will wait for an inspector general report from the agency until calling for any personnel changes.

Shinseki himself told CBS News’ Wyatt AndrewsWednesday he plans to stay in the job, and that he will get to the bottom of the scandal.”I take every one of these incidents and allegations seriously, and we’re going to go and investigate,” Shinseki said. “All of this makes me angry. Whenever we have allegations like this, even until they are founded – I didn’t come here to watch things happen this way. I came here to make things better.”

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Alaska’s lawmakers debate budget ‘compromise’

    by Kate McPherson on May 27, 21:53

    A new budget bill will be debated in the House of Representatives Thursday morning in Anchorage. Republican leaders have offered a “compromise” budget — CS House Bill 2001 — that adds $16.5 million back into education funding to increase the Base Student Allocation (BSA) to a level required by state statue. House Minority Democrats aren’t […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, May 27

    by KTVA Weather on May 27, 21:04

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Sunny and warmer.   Southeast Decreasing clouds for the panhandle with a slight chance of showers from Petersburg south.   Interior/North Slope Interior locations will see mostly cloudy skies by the afternoon with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. The slope should have mostly to cloudy skies with dense fog at […]

  • News

    Police investigate fatal vehicle collision on Old Glenn

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 20:54

    A collision involving two vehicles in Eagle River has left one person dead and sent another to the hospital. Police and firefighters responded to the collision near the intersection of the Old Glenn Highway and Monastery Drive just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. One of the vehicles involved was “totally engulfed in flames,” according to Anchorage […]

  • Crime

    Murder trial underway in case of 2012 shooting outside Anchorage nightclub

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 19:20

    The jury has been seated and opening statements have been heard in the trial of the October 2012 shooting death of 27-year-old Said Beshirov. Korakanh Phornsovanh is the man accused of gunning down Beshirov outside of the now-closed Platinum Jaxx nightclub. On Wednesday, jurors watched cell phone video that was shot by a witness the night of the […]

  • News

    Pentagon says it mistakenly shipped live anthrax to numerous labs and to US base in Korea

    by Associated Press on May 27, 17:41

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s investigating what the Pentagon calls an inadvertent shipment of live anthrax spores to government and commercial laboratories. Those labs had expected to receive dead spores. The CDC says, right now, it does not suspect there’s a risk to the general public. However, a U.S. official says […]

  • Sports

    Bartlett headed to state soccer tournament for the first time

    by Dave Leval on May 27, 15:50

    The Bartlett High School Golden Bears have unfinished business to take care of. The boys’ soccer team is headed to the state tournament for the first time. “I can’t even describe it in words, because it feels so good,” said midfielder Lorenzo Froeale. Some members of the Golden Bears admitted that thoughts of the tournament […]

  • News

    Gov. Walker tours Shell drill rig in Seattle

    by Associated Press on May 27, 15:28

    Alaska Gov. Bill Walker toured a massive oil drill rig parked on Seattle’s waterfront Wednesday before meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee to tell him that Washington’s position on future Arctic drilling will hurt his state’s economy. Walker says he was impressed by crew members and the safety features aboard the 400-foot-long Polar Pioneer, which Royal […]

  • Sports

    Asphalt track coming to Alaska Raceway Park

    by Dave Leval on May 27, 13:51

    Alaska Raceway Park will soon give drivers a chance to go in circles. Construction continues on a new one-third mile asphalt track. It will be the only one of its kind in Alaska since the old Northstar Speedway in Wasilla closed in 2012. “We need an asphalt venue here in the state,” said the track’s […]