Letters to the Editor

Blame administrators, managers for VA mess

There's one word to describe the escalating Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal: abhorrent.

As the days go by, the "secret list" keeps getting longer and longer as more VA hospitals throughout the country are being found out for possessing this "secret list."

As we all know, the VA hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., has been the center of this "secret list" controversy. A whistle-blower, a retired doctor who used to work at that hospital for several years, divulged in an interview with CNN about a coverup created by managers to hide the fact that more than 1,400 veterans were forced to wait many months to see a doctor, and 40 died while waiting for their medical appointments.

To this date, 42 other VA Hospitals and more than 60 percent of 216 VA hospitals all over the country have also been discovered to have practiced in this coverup. Now, heads must roll. This resulted in the forced resignation of Mr. Eric Shinseki, the secretary of Veteran Affairs.

The Obama Administration needed a sacrificial lamb, and for a head to roll to appease the anger of veterans of this country and the noisy clamor of Congressmen on both sides of the aisle for the head of Mr. Shinseki.

I like Mr. Shinseki. He's a retired Army four-star general and a Vietnam veteran who was severely injured during his combat tour there. He's a good man, a brave man, who laid his life on the line for this country. He's an American hero.

I don't think he was at fault for this abhorrent secret list. Surely, he didn't know of the existence of this secret list until its divulgement. I think the people at fault were those administrators and managers at VA hospitals who were aware of this secret waiting list, yet filed their reports to the VA secretary, saying that everything within their area of responsibility were fine and dandy and that veterans under their care were well taken care of.

They did this to receive their bonuses. And that's truly abhorrent.

It's their heads that should roll, not Mr. Shinseki's.

Being a disabled Vietnam-era veteran myself, I use the Puget Sound VA facility in Seattle. True, I sometimes have to wait for long periods of time for my primary care appointments and followups with physician specialists. But overall, I've received excellent medical care.

– Jesse Jose

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