• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers. Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA. Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
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

  • News

    St. Lawrence Island assistance centers now open, offer state aid for storm repairs

    by Davis Hovey / KNOM on Feb 20, 17:00

    The Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, or DHSEM, set up assistance centers on St. Lawrence Island after Gov. Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration almost two weeks ago. KNOM’s Davis Hovey spoke to community members at the center in Savoonga. Downstairs in the city office building where community bingo is normally played, […]

  • Aviation and more at the Alaska Air Carriers Association convention

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 20, 15:19

    This week the Alaska Air Carriers Association (AACA) is kicking off its annual convention and trade show. It will be an opportunity for people to learn more about careers in aviation. Jane Dale, the association’s executive director, said AACA was founded in 1966, primarily for the operations in Southeast. Since then, it’s expanded to become what […]

  • News

    Alaska House passes bill protecting reemployment rights for some National Guardsmen

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 20, 15:17

    The Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would protect reemployment rights for Alaskans serving with National Guard units from other states. A statement from Rep. Chris Tuck’s office explained that current federal law protects reemployment rights for Guardsmen called away for federal duty and Alaska law covers Alaskans called into federal service […]

  • News

    University system agrees to resolve issues in federal review

    by KTVA / AP on Feb 20, 13:41

    The University of Alaska system has agreed to resolve issues stemming from a federal review of its handling of campus sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. The agreement, signed by system President Jim Johnsen on Friday and released Monday, outlines steps the system will need to take over the next several years. It follows a […]

  • Getting ready for Fur Rondy 2017

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 20, 11:55

    Fur Rendezvous starts this Friday, Feb. 25. According to the executive director, Beth Helgeson there’s one big change from previous years. “We have got winter for our winter festival,” she said. Helgeson added that all the snow and perfect temperatures will be great for the sled dog races, which has a six figure purse this […]

  • News

    1 dead, 7 hospitalized from carbon monoxide at south Anchorage home

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 20, 10:59

    Last updated at 3:32 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20 The source of carbon monoxide exposure in a south Anchorage home, where one person was found dead, is under investigation, according to Anchorage Fire Department deputy chief Jodi Hettrick. Few details were immediately available, but Hettrick said someone in the house woke up, realized another person wasn’t breathing, […]

  • On-Air

    Teacher of the Week: Joanne Christian

    by Megan Mazurek on Feb 20, 10:53

    Tudor Elementary Kindergarten teacher Joanne Christian is starting her students off with the basics — sounding and spelling three letter words and putting together sentences. “They come in not knowing how to write their name, read their name,” Christian said. She loves being there for the start of a child’s education. “I just love that they come […]

  • 20 years later: Anniversary of Bethel school shooting still emotional

    by Rhonda McBride on Feb 20, 8:54

    Feb. 19, 1997. If you lived in Bethel on that day, you would remember exactly where you were and what you were doing, even though it was 20 years ago. That’s the day Evan Ramsey took a 12-gauge shotgun to school and opened fire in the lobby just before class started. The shooting rampage at […]