U.S. lawmaker asks Obama to form panel on veteran care delays
Representative Jeff Miller, who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the commission was needed because "VA's delays in care problem is growing in size and scope by the day."
Probes into deaths of veterans who were waiting for medical appointments at some VA clinics and hospitals and into allegations of schemes to mask months-long waiting times for care were now beyond the capabilities and resources of the VA's own inspector general's office, the Florida Republican said.
"For nearly a year, we have been pleading with top Department of Veterans Affairs leaders and the president to take immediate steps to stop the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and hold accountable any and all VA employees who have allowed patients to slip through the cracks," Miller said in a statement.
"In response, we've received disturbing silence from the White House and one excuse after another from VA," he added.
The agency's inspector general's office is investigating allegations that 40 veterans died last year while waiting for appointments at Phoenix-area VA hospitals and clinics. VA doctors in Phoenix say that many veterans requesting appointments were held on a secret waiting list, some as long as 21 months, until spots could open up on an official list that met the VA's much shorter waiting time goals.
Probes into similar schemes have been reported at VA facilities in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Fort Collins, Colorado; and San Antonio and Austin, Texas.
Miller said precedents exist for such special commissions, including one established by former President George W. Bush in 2007 on care for warriors wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan in response to reports of substandard conditions and mismanagement at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday reiterated Obama's support for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
"The president remains confident that Secretary Shinseki has the ability to lead the department and to take appropriate action based on the (inspector general's) findings," Carney said.
Shinseki is due to address the matter on Thursday in testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
READER COMMENTS: 9
- Deroy Murdock: The indictment of Rick Perry is bizarre and unfounded - 0
- Another View - Marc Champion: A strong terror policy would cure Obama's golf woes - 0
- Jonah Goldberg: Obama confuses the TV world with the real one - 1
- George Will: In defense of the defenders - 0
- Roger Simon: Is Ferguson the future? - 0
- Charles Krauthammer: Stopping the worst people on earth - 0
- Lynn Preston's NH Legal Perspectives: What prospective real estate purchasers need to know - 0
- Gail Fisher's Dog Tracks: 'Mirror' approach reflects important role of humans in dog training - 0
- Thomas Sowell: The media and the mob - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- NH Motor Speedway to again host two Sprint Cup Series weekends in 2015 - 0
- St. Anselm football players practice ini August heat - 0
- White, Glenn lift Fisher Cats over Harrisburg, 6-4 - 0
- KSC field hockey first in coaches poll - 0
- New England Patriots guard Mankins traded to Tampa for TE Wright - 0
- NH Fisher Cat Lee still striving for making it to the major leagues - 0
- Former city restaurateur gets jail sentence for sex assault - 0
- Former high school art teacher gets suspended sentence in drug case - 0
- New Manchester school district standards to give teachers more leeway - 0
Market Basket: 'So close, yet so far'
Backyard boulder kills Raymond homeowner
Reports: Market Basket doomsday plan would shutter 61 of 71 stores if deal not struck soon
GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help
Ohio's Rob Portman: GOP can win back Senate