• 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

  • Crime

    18-year-old injured in East Anchorage house party shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 13:28

    An 18-year-old female was struck in the shoulder by a bullet after shots were fired outside of an East Anchorage house party early Sunday morning. The shooting occurred at about 2:15 a.m., police say. A large, private party was being held at a residence located at the 4500 block of Ninth Avenue, near Lane Street, […]

  • News

    Sail into history with Captain Cook at Anchorage Museum

    by Dave Leval on Mar 29, 10:58

    A statue of him overlooks the body of water that bears his name. He also has a hotel named after him. But how much do you really know about Captain James Cook? Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage is a new exhibition at the Anchorage Museum. A telescope that Cook used during his […]

  • News

    AKNG, AST rescue snowmachiner in crevasse of Eureka Glacier

    by Associated Press on Mar 29, 10:19

    The Alaska Air National Guard and Alaska State Troopers on Saturday came to the aid of a man who fell into a crevasse on Eureka Glacier. Troopers say they took a call just after 5:30 p.m. from 59-year-old Shawn Murphy of North Pole. Murphy reported that his companion, 69-year-old Fairbanks resident Robert McClintock, had wrecked […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather, March 28

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 28, 18:30

  • News

    Alaska Air National Guard assists in rescue of 2 Saudi pilots from Gulf of Aden

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 18:20

    Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard, currently deployed to Djibouti, Africa, assisted in the rescue of two Saudi pilots from the Gulf of Aden on Friday. The pilots were rescued off the coast of Yemen after they ejected from their F-15 aircraft, according to various news outlets. Approximately 120 Alaska Air National guardsmen from the […]

  • News

    16 Black Hawk helicopters back in Alaska, ready to help with civilian emergencies

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 15:20

    Sixteen Army Black Hawk helicopters are back in Alaska and ready to help with civilian medical emergencies after spending nine months in Afghanistan. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1MgUB22 ) reports the military helicopters supplement Alaska’s civilian fleet of about two dozen medical helicopters operated by private companies including Life Flight, Life Med and Guardian. In […]

  • Crime

    Man injured in leg in West Anchorage shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 14:15

    Police say a man was struck in the leg by gunfire in a shooting in West Anchorage Saturday afternoon. At around 1 p.m., witnesses say there was a disturbance between two groups of people in a parking lot near the 1300 block of West Northern Lights Boulevard, according to a release from the Anchorage Police […]

  • News

    Government Hill resident reads found letter from 1964 Alaska earthquake

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 28, 13:36

    Friday, March 27, marked the 51st anniversary of the devastating Good Friday earthquake. On that day, just after 5:30 p.m., violent shaking erupted without warning across Southcentral Alaska. It has become known as the most powerful earthquake ever in North America, taking the lives of more than 100 people. This week, Alaska lawmakers passed legislation to […]