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San Diegans React To VA Chief’s Resignation

Soon after embattled Department of Veterans Affairs chief Eric Shinseki tendered his resignation Friday the reaction from San Diego County military veterans and politicians was swift and mixed.

A Veterans Affairs audit cites a failure of VA leadership for widespread problems with the health care system for veterans and the apparent cover-up of scheduling delays. Shinseki presented those findings to President Barack Obama on Friday along with his resignation. Obama said he accepted the resignation with "considerable regret," but added there's no time for distractions and the full focus needs to be on fixing the problems.

Shinseki's department was rocked by allegations of fraudulent record-keeping, most recently to hide the size of the waiting list for care at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

In a statement issued after the secretary's resignation, VA San Diego said it had "identified less than 200 patients in San Diego who have appointments scheduled outside of the 90-day timeframe," and were working to get them earlier appointments.

VA San Diego public affairs director Cindy Butler said:

"The VA San Diego Healthcare System prides itself in being the only health care organization in the area dedicated to providing high quality, timely care to Veterans in San Diego and Imperial Counties.  The majority of new patients to the VA San Diego Healthcare System are seen within 14 days, with all new patients being seen within 90 days of the date of enrollment. At this time, for any Veteran who has been referred for specialty care and who was not scheduled to be seen within 90 days of the referral, VA San Diego Healthcare System staff are contacting each of these Veterans to determine their desire for an earlier appointment with the VA."

Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, said this on Twitter shortly after the president announced the VA secretary’s resignation:

Twitter: Scott Peters Thanks Shinseki

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, took to Twitter to comment on Friday’s announcement that the VA secretary had resigned:

Twitter Darrell Issa On Shinseki

Posted Thursday on the Facebook page for Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from Alpine who served in the Marines:

Facebook: Duncan Hunter On Shinseki

Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, serves on the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. As of noon Friday, she had not issued a statement or said anything on her Twitter or Facebook about Gen. Shineski’s resignation. That’s the same for Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego. He said nothing publicly about the resignation by noon Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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