WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Kinzinger today released the following statement after the announcement that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki will step down amid growing reports of negligence and mismanagement at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.
“I am encouraged to know that new leadership will have the opportunity to make the massive changes necessary to clean up the broken bureaucracy at the VA. Secretary Shinseki is a good man who has served his country honorably, but the systemic problems we’ve seen require a new direction and a renewed commitment from both the Administration and Congress,” said Kinzinger. “When the men and women who volunteer to defend this country return home, they deserve nothing but the best our country has to offer and I stand ready to work with anyone and everyone to see that they get it.”
Recently, whistleblowers revealed that staffers at a VA hospital in Phoenix had been concealing lists of lengthy wait times that spanned months for some veterans to receive care. Since then, a VA internal investigator has expanded investigations into twenty-six VA hospitals - including the Hines VA Hospital in Chicago - for delays in treatment and improper records-keeping.
VA investigators have acknowledged that at least 23 veterans have died as a result of delayed or denied care, and news reports suggest more than a hundred veterans may have died over the previous decade due to delays in treatment.