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Scandal Over Alleged VA ‘Waiting List’ Not Easing

Veterans Group Rallied In San Diego Thursday, Demanding Obama Hold VA Accountable

The front of the San Diego VA Medical Center.

Problems continued to mount this week for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including a call Thursday in San Diego by the leader of a national veterans group for more accountability by President Barack Obama of the VA.

The department came under scrutiny last month after a whistle-blower claimed that a VA hospital in Phoenix kept a secret list of veterans waiting for care to show the facility was meeting the 14-day standard for getting into treatment. As many as 40 veterans allegedly died before receiving care.

Here is a summary of what’s unfolded this week:

With Obama visiting La Jolla Thursday for a fundraiser, veterans rallied outside the War Memorial Building Auditorium in Balboa Park to demand more accountability of the VA, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said at the rally that Obama “needs to tell veterans what he’s doing to clean up” the Veterans Administration.

"He's yet to address the veterans. The president needs to assure them that he's taking action," Rieckhoff was quoted in the Times as saying.

In a story Thursday, U-T San Diego said no allegations of wrongdoing have been reported at the VA medical center in San Diego.

Jeffrey Gering, the medical center’s director, told the newspaper: “In my time at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, the organization has consistently maintained timely access for primary care, mental health and specialty care.”

Also on Thursday, the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted to subpoena records relating to the secret waiting list allegedly kept at the Phoenix VA hospital.

And the problems are not just in Phoenix. The Associated Press reported that the VA has acknowledged that 23 patients have died as a result of delayed care in recent years.

At a clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., officials were instructed to how to falsify appointment records, the VA’s inspector general said. Other problems have occurred in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia, the AP said.

Several Republicans in Congress have called for Shinseki’s resignation, but House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday he is not ready to “join the chorus of people calling on him to resign.”

Obama also has continued to back the retired four-star Army general who also is a former Army chief of staff.

The American Legion this week called on Shinseki to resign. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which rallied in Balboa Park, has not asked for his resignation but is polling members on its website to see if they want to take that step.

Meanwhile, Shinseki has been giving interviews this week to various news organizations. Here is NPR’s story based on its interview with him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments

Avatar for user 'GMFuzy'

GMFuzy | May 9, 2014 at 11:20 a.m. ― 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I had surgery (which they botched) at the La Jolla VA back in October, Now Nearly 7 months later I have yet to have a post surgical follow up.
Excessive waits seem to just be part of the game no matter what part of the country you are in.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 9, 2014 at 12:04 p.m. ― 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's get this straight: It's Obama's fault that he hasn't done anything to ease the number of cases brought about by his predecessor's war of choice in Iraq? Was the totally inept response to 9/11 Obama's fault?

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Avatar for user 'GMFuzy'

GMFuzy | May 9, 2014 at 12:56 p.m. ― 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Nobody said anything about this being The Presidents Fault, They are simply asking for a response to the problems, it seems you are simply trying to instigate a an argument with a bunch of off topic brujaja, I CAN honestly say that President Obama has tried to ease the number of pending claims;
I was medically discharged in 2009 my claim was partially settled in August of 2013(and still pending completion) I was told I could only be back payed up to 12 months.
--- so I ask you, is swindling benefits from injured veterans helping the problem?

---The protesters are kind of ridiculous but what exactly is the pres going to do about it? If no one speaks up probably nothing.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 9, 2014 at 1:48 p.m. ― 7 months, 3 weeks ago

GMFuzy,

"The protesters are kind of ridiculous but what exactly is the pres going to do about it? If no one speaks up probably nothing."

"I CAN honestly say that President Obama has tried to ease the number of pending claims;"

Is Obama doing or not doing? If I were wounded in combat due to an avoidable war of choice launched under the shadiest of pretenses, I would project my anger towards the right place. Why has George W. Bush gotten a free pass?

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Avatar for user 'GMFuzy'

GMFuzy | May 9, 2014 at 2:22 p.m. ― 7 months, 3 weeks ago

dude you're just trying to rebel rouse, I never said I was a fan of Bush, and no where did I say President Obama is "NOT doing anything"
The crap that's going on with the VA has always happened, it's not just G. W. Bush, and it's certainly not our current president that's at fault. But President Obama ( being our present elected Commander in Chief) should be able to begin making positive changes in the way veterans are receiving treatment and compensation.
You seem to be the one projecting anger here, while I do feel a bit slided - I've met dozens of older Vets that have had it worse than I do.
I'm proud of my military service and always will be.
I thought we were beyond the "spit on a returning Vet" phase of our history.
I could call names and blame former heads of state too, but having lived the life I feel it more rational to try to change things from this point on rather than dwell on the past and play the blame game. Guys are still coming home messed up everyday; others have been fighting the VA for 40+ years - lets be constructive and try to help.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | May 10, 2014 at 6:59 a.m. ― 7 months, 3 weeks ago

competent administrators (and dare I say doctors ) get jobs in the private sector, working for the gov. is for the gravy train passengers.

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Avatar for user '1bill'

1bill | June 12, 2014 at 5:44 a.m. ― 6 months, 2 weeks ago

first off I'd like to say that Jeff gearing makes over a hundred eighty thousand a year probably plus bonuses I asked for this man's help he railroaded me I would not believe anything this man says shame on Jeff gearing and shame on the San Diego VA hospital there was crimes committed against me there

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