The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki

Fellow Veterans and Family Members,

After 38 years in The Army, I am now honored and privileged to serve as your Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA).  VA remains committed to providing the high quality benefits you have earned and deserve.

Allegations of VA employees’ misconduct have surfaced over the last several weeks, beginning with scheduling delays at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. As I testified before Congress on May 15, I take any allegations about patient safety or employee misconduct very seriously.  The reports of Veterans’ negative experiences while seeking VA care are of great personal concern to me. I fully agree with President Obama’s statement on May 21, 2014: “If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful . . . .”

In response to these allegations at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and a number of other facilities, the VA Office of Inspector General is conducting a comprehensive, independent review.  In addition to the IG’s independent review, I ordered the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to conduct a nationwide audit of all other major VA healthcare facilities to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, our appointment policy.  That audit is being conducted now by more than two hundred senior VHA staff.  All teams are independent of the facilities they are visiting.  You and your families deserve to have full faith in your VA, and we intend to earn it every day.

As President Obama made clear to the American people May 21, 2014, “Every single day, there are people working in the VA who do outstanding work and put everything they’ve got into making sure that our Veterans get the care, benefits, and services that they need.”  I echo that praise and commend the hard work and dedication of the vast majority of our VA employees, many of whom are Veterans themselves.  Every year, dedicated employees are prepared to provide care for over 8.9 million Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare.  Every day, VHA conducts approximately 236,000 outpatient healthcare appointments—about 85 million last year.

Since 2009, we have enrolled two million more Veterans in high-quality VA healthcare, reduced Veterans’ homelessness by 24 percent, and provided Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits to more than one million student Veterans and eligible family members.  We have opened up new presumptives for Veterans to receive long overdue care for exposure to Agent Orange, for combat-related PTS-D, and for Gulf War illnesses.  And, we have decreased the disability claims backlog by over 50 percent in the last 14 months.  We will meet our goal of eliminating the claims backlog in 2015.

Every VA medical facility is accredited by The Joint Commission, an independent, non-profit organization that ensures the quality of U.S. healthcare through intensive evaluation of more than 20,000 healthcare organizations.  In 2012, The Joint Commission, recognized 19 VA hospitals as top performers, and that number increased to 32 in 2013.

Since 2004, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey has consistently shown that, on average, Veterans who use VA healthcare award our hospitals and clinics a higher customer satisfaction score than patients give private sector hospitals.  When asked if they would use a VA medical center the next time they need inpatient or outpatient care, 96 percent and 95 percent of Veterans, respectively, indicated they would.  Veterans across the Nation are receiving quality care from VA.  We must encourage other Veterans to seek it.

Notwithstanding these accomplishments, VA will do even better.  If any allegations under review are substantiated, we will act.

As we approach our observance of Memorial Day and its special significance to our Nation, VA is re-doubling its efforts, with integrity and compassion, to earn your trust.

As President Obama said, Veterans have “done their duty, and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours—that we uphold our sacred trust to all who have served.”

And, we will.

Eric Shinseki

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Published on May. 22, 2014

Estimated reading time is 3.2 min.

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212 Comments

  1. Roger June 2, 2014 at 6:40 am

    They have reduced veteran homelessness? Why was there even on homeless veteran to begin with? I too get great care at the Fort Wayne, IN VA hospital but that doesn’t make what happened in Phoenix and elsewhere any less tragic. The inexcusable and unnecessary deaths of too many veterans is a crime and I want the people responsible to go to prison. I am not satisfied with Shinseki resigning, he needs to be prosecuted and sent to prison as does any person that commits wrongs against the people then think they can resign and walk away as if nothing happened!

    NO PERSON THAT SERVED IN THE MLITARY WHETHER OR NOT THE WERE IN ACTUAL COMBAT, THEY VOLUNTEERED TO GIVE THEIR LIFE FOR THEIR COUNTRY TO KEEP AMRICA FREE, SHOULD BE HOMELESS AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR WHOM THEY FOUGHT OR SERVED SHOULD GUANTEE IT!

  2. kenward42 May 29, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Although the problems in the VA are reprehensible, and I am not, and have never been an Obama supporter, the VA problems did not begin with the installation of General Shinseki as Secretary of the organization. He has demonstrated during his Army career to be a very capable manager. But he appears to have had very incompetent subordinates at several levels that have contributed to this problem. Ino doubt has existed for several years, but has, only, recently, been publicly disclosed.

  3. Chuck May 29, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Chuck says:
    May 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm
    There is a need for an easy way to provide feedback to the Secretary of the VA.
    ***
    I find it interesting, with all the talk that the VA is trying to clean itself up, that there are no easy ways for a veterans to provide feedback on the performance of a specific VA center. I would expect the Secretary would want to know how veterans feel about their local or national VA’s performance, and also know that this feedback has not been tampered with by the regional VA’s. I would suggest this feedback be viewable to veterans, as well as by the State VA’s, but the data would “only controlled by the Secretary’s Office”. This would help prevent various locations from hiding issues like the ones we are going through now.
    – The Secretary should want to know the pulse of the veterans being served in the VA system – immediately. The feedback could be good or bad and range from suggestions to complaints about non-professional conduct of VA employees to concerns with procedures or reporting extended waiting delays.
    – I would like to see a feedback option in a prominent location on every VA page, not something that is hard to find. The issues and locations could be databased and used as another tool for the VA to help refine administrative process and notice trends by type or location and it could take action before a larger problem occurs. This would give the VA an opportunity to make changes. The IG could even use this same information to see additional areas they might want to look into with one of their surprise visits to a VA center (which they need to do more often).
    – This would be another tool the Secretary’s office could use to identify potential areas with leadership or processes and head them off. Once identified, the VA must take swift action on problems (within two weeks) and not allow things to go for months or years.

  4. patrick jahnke May 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    We need to protest our real needs to congress and to our senators and the va doctors show them were are one to fight for our county same treatment as congress and the senators I believe all head office in government may wake up . do something. For our vets

  5. Just saying May 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    The wait time will never get better at the VA. Noway can they acommodate every veteran who is intitled to va medical care in a timely mannet. There are to many chiefs and not enough indians(doctors ). All the va facilities are over crowded with veterans seeking care. Even if they hire more doctors there isn’t enough space or time to give the care all these veterans deserve and it’s only going to get worse when they all return and more need care. If they order doctors to see more veterans per day the quality of care is going to get even worse. What’s the answer its simple treat veterans the same way they do Medicare/Medicaid people. You don’t see them waiting months and months for care and neither should a veteran. All va medical facilities are way over crowded. Trying to get timely quality care is almost going to be impossible unless veterans are allow to seek out care in the private sector. Most specialist at the va are so over whelmed I don’t know how they can do half as good as some of them try to do. Uncovering up all these secret problems isn’t the only answer. Big changes need to happen soon before things get even worse. I tell my doctors all the time “I don’t know how you can keep up at this pace”. Eventually the walls will cave in. I hope you look deep into the soul problems.

  6. Timothy Pickering May 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Mr. Shinseki: I respect your military service. However, as a cabinet post staff member and basically the CEO of the Veteran’s Administration, it is not conceivable to me or the rest of the country for that matter that you did not know what was going on in approximately 25 facilities around the country. That is your job to know these things. If I was the CEO of any privately owned corporation, I would have been fired at the first hint of impropriety. Mr. Shinseki, the honorable thing for you to do is step down immediately!!! The buck stops with you and you my freind let your fellow veterans down in a gigantic way. Shame on you!

  7. Beverly Young May 28, 2014 at 9:08 am

    To Whomever will listen,

    The hospital I am referring to is the Charleston, VA.

    My son-in-law’s father was injured in the Viet Nam war. He is 65 years old & is suffering severely. Last week he was admitted into the hospital with excrutiating pain. He was told he would have to wait a week because they had him on blood thinners & they could not perform the surgery. No problem with understanding that.

    However this man’s legs are totaled numb & unresponsive due to pinched nerves. He is unable to walk & he is unable to take care of himself. My son-in-law told the hospital there was no one to care for his dad at his home & could they keep in the hospital or get home health care. He was told they needed the room for people in worse shape and there was nothing they could do to help. Oh I forgot. They gave him a board to take home with him.

    My son-in-law takes his father home and he is absolutely helpless and in excrutiating pain. Now this Thursday he is scheduled to have the surgery. There is no way this man could be lifted up and my son-in-law asked if they could have a transport sent to get him & he was told no.

    Now my son-in-law has done 4 tours in the middle east, he has brain damage, PTSD & he has severe injuries in his back & legs. Of course, he has now further injured himself taking care of his dad who is over 300 pounds.

    You know dogs get treated better than these 2 guys. I am so upset about this. I am not going to stop on this until I get this story out to news media.

    You all should be ashamed of yourself for the lack of compassion & treatment.

  8. Robert Grant May 28, 2014 at 4:44 am

    I go to overton brooks vamc in Shreveport Louisiana. The care I have received has been excellent. My complaint is with the compensation part. I was turned down for my gi complaints stating a barium enema showed diverticulosis. However a colonoscopy revealed no diverticulosis. All done at the VA. I have been waiting almost a year on my appeal and the same on my new claims. All together this was initiated almost 2 years ago. I have been told at the regional office in New Orleans that my new claims will be another 10 months and the appeal in Washington will be another 2 years. That is ridiculous!

  9. Melvin Campbell May 27, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Mr Secretary until 2012, I was a civilian consumer of Healthcare here in D.C. After losing my job, I happened to had a conversation with my former platoon Sgt who recommended that I receive care through the VA. My initial observations were of joy. I especially am satisfied with the care from my PCP. Were I started to notice a drop in the level of care was when I came in for treatment of long term constipation, sleeplessness and possible PTSD. It would seem to me that the very mention of my service in the Gulf has become a road block to resolving my issues. My PCP keeps sending referrals to the G.I. Department head who keeps sending them right back. I have heard nothing from Psych since my interview by the resident and a second year student. They said that I should have a sleep study. Well today, I met with the Neuro Department Vice Chair who said that based on his perception I may have suffered from PTSD. My issue is why does your department’s flagship facility have such an adversarial relationship with the very people you once led? I had that neuro appointment made in late April or early May. The appointment was set for July 8 but was cancelled without my knowledge a few weeks later and rescheduled for today. That is unacceptable. As a Gulf War vet, I am part of a group that may be the next “Agent Orange” Brigade. Is it too much to ensure that us vets get the same level of care that our leadership gets? I really don’t care who runs the agency. I don’t have the time nor desire to fight another war; not with the government I pledged my life to defend. Please no more studies, investigations, task forces or magic shows. Make the Agency equal to those four stars you earned. Semper Fi.

  10. Ron Walter May 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Knowing Ric Shinseki to be a man of honor, I can only imagine his anguish at the rancor displayed in some comments submitted on this forum. I believe he, and the President, are correct to allow this investigation to run its course, and I also believe that, confronted with things within his power to fix, Ric Shinseki will fix them. The allegations, if correct, are terrible, but they are the same sort of issues common to virtually every large hospital in the country. When Ric Shinseki says he is staying on because he still has work to do, it rings well with me. He could easily have bailed out with the others at the end of the President’s first term, but he wanted to do more for the veterans he serves. I believe he still has more to do.

  11. Kerry Kellum May 27, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I put in a claim in 2010 was denied 4 time they said I was not on active duty when it happen i have orders stating I was on active duty then they said I don’t have enough military time I have a combination of 17years active and national guard time so how that not enough time in service they are so full of shit it seems like they don’t care about the things we did for our country we need someone who cares

  12. Jim Preston May 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    All u naysayers out there, look back. He doesn’t have the authority to get rid of long established va employees. He wants that authority n only Congress n the empty suit in the WH can give it to him. Obummer doesn’t fire anyone he appoints, look at all the other Departments. I am in the NORCAL district and our VA facilities n staff are great. I know some aren’t but only Ur writing ur Congress person can get that changed. I think the General is doing a good job considering what he was handed. Nonconforming Computer Systems, inability to clean house as he wanted, not enough money when he started now he has it. Give him the authority he wants n let him alone.

  13. Johnny Wells May 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    The gratuitous bashing of General Shinseki being done on this site (and elsewhere) is uncalled for, if not downright stupid. At this stage of his career, he is not doing this for the fun of it or because he needs a job; he is doing this out of his selfless devotion to my welfare and yours. We are fortunate to have such a well-respected, proven leader on the job. For those of you who do not agree with me, WHO pray tell do you have in mind to replace him?

  14. Christoff May 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

    You said that 4 years ago! You’re an empty suit who obviously can’t manage in the civilian world and yet your self absorbed pride and hubris prevent you from stepping down. You’re a disgrace to this nation and have negated ANYTHING you did as a soldier. The buck stops with you and your master Obama…and you’ve FAILED…on the backs of heroes.

  15. John Smithson May 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    The VA care in Charleston WV is the best anyplace, anywhere, any time. I’ve used them exclusively for over 10 years and NEVER had a complaint. I’ve been treated promptly, professionally, and courteously on all occasions. they’re the greatest!

  16. P. Cameron Tomarchio May 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    In 2008, I was sent to Bufalo VA from Syracuse VA for one cardiac stent which was bothced by Buffalo.

    After they surgically opened by mistake and had an allergic reaction to betadine cause I am allergic to Iodine which is all over my records, I wond up with 4 stents, spent 21 days in a medically induced coma, got a MRSA infected chest wound from ICU, layed in feces for 2 days cause Nurses were watching porn at the desk and the floor I was on was the filthiest I have ever seen.

    After threatening to sue I was sent back to Syracuse within hours where Syracuse saved my life as I was in bad shape due to the poor treatment received in Buffalo.

    Syracuse now does their own cardiac stents because of this fiasco and the reports done by Risk management which proved what Buffalo did to me. Syracuse is a great hospital and a leader in which Buffalo should folllow their footsteps. I would not recommend Buffalo to my worse enemy.

    Let’s hope that things have changed for the better in Buffalo since 2008 as the treament of Veterans should be the main concern.

    Thank you,

  17. JIM WELLS May 26, 2014 at 8:12 am

    If veterans deserve such good service in a timely manner, I’m wondering why I have not received my eyeglasses 2 months after my eye examination?? I take solace in the fact that this delay is not life-threatening, but fear it is yet one more example of systemic delays that are cost veterans their lives.

  18. Jennifer May 26, 2014 at 1:10 am

    I’m a civilian and I just finished reading your note to our defenders and the responses it received. All I can say is FIX THIS. I may not know first hand what our veterans are going through but I’ve heard first hand and read enough to know that whatever you are doing…isn’t working! My grandfather served, front line in WWII and Korea (USMC), I’m happy he’s not here to see this mess, he loved the military and dedicated his life to it, this would’ve broken his heart. Take care of our veterans!

    General Shinseki: Maybe it’s time you step down, Sir.

    Veterans/Active Duty: Thank you. Thank you for stepping up to the plate for our country and for everything that entails, your sacrifices will not be forgotten.
    For what it’s worth, Happy Memorial Day.

  19. Gene in L.A. May 25, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve had better care at the V.A. Hospital at Sawtelle, in Los Angeles, than at any non-military hospital I’ve been to. I don’t want that to change. Either do your job and fix things or retire in favor of someone who can do it.

  20. Rachael Bagley May 25, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    My father died today from neglect, nasty unclean treatment given to him at the Dayton VA Medical Center. These are not care centers they are death camps. There is a place in hell for all of you who continue to cover up all the hell that how’s on at these “hospitals”. Trust me there are way more than 40 deaths, I’ve had 5 months to walk the halls, take pics and talk to many staff. Your time is coming.

  21. Robert May 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I made allegations of wrong doings claim processing in the New Orleans Regional Office in my request for the issuance of a writ of mandamus in August last year and the Court of Veteran Appeals called me a liar. My claim is now at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal 2014-7069 and I am now waiting for you people to call me a liar as well. The veterans who died probably complained and got the same treatment that I have gotten. If someone had listened to them instead of calling their allegations lies and untruths, some of them would have gotten treatment and would be with us still.

  22. Scott Wagenmaker May 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Secretary Shinseki. I am not sure if you should resign or if you stay. This troubles me. That means I can’t trust the person in charge of the VA. I myself am experiencing not only a wait time in receiving the health care I need, but also in claims back log. I will list below the problems.

    Back log in health care is disgraceful, because the solution is a easy one. If a veteran can’t be seen at a VA facility (like in 15 days or less), then the VA should have contracts with other outside healthcare facilities that can help with the back log (colonoscopy, MRIs, CT scans and others can be done at civilian hospitals). I work in health care and know that the veteran gets the best care; however, it’s getting the care that is the problem. I believe access is the biggest problem.

    My problem, I am needing to get a appointment for physical therapy for my back or a ENT (ears, nose, throat) doc appointment for my dizziness. Physical therapy is always faster and I don’t have that much problems with them. But to get a specialist appointment is a different story. I was told not to even count on hearing from the person who sets them until august/September. That’s way too long. The problem I am having is getting worse.

    The next problem is wait time on my claim. I am 80% service connected. I had to resend in a claim for IBS. Somehow the claim was switched the first time around from IBS to stomach condition. They denied it. So I had to resubmit it. When I went to the C&P exam. The doctor asked why was I there. I was already approved for IBS. WTF? I was also denied for other service connected disabilities while I was still serving in the NG. Those are in appeal right now. I also was sent a bill for repayment for pay received while I was serving. It said you can’t collect both. I have that in appeal because I can’t afford to repay it back. I will not be able to feed my children or pay my house payment if I lose that money. This is also a problem for others. The NG and the VA were both aware I was filling a claim while I was still serving. Then the va denied parts of my claim as not service connected. WTF?

    To clear the back log is another easy solution. All active duty should go through a VA process on discharge. And if they are found connected, the. They should be assigned a VA disability rating upon discharge. Use the military doctors. This will clear up a big part of the problem.

    • Scott Wagenmaker May 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      I almost forgot. I am a Desert shield/Storm vet. gulf war vets are suffering and dying while waiting for there claims and health care. Allot of the VA doctors still think that the illness is in psychological. I am here to tell you that this is disgraceful and we need help. As we get older more problems are appearing. I wasn’t until two or so years ago that I was able to put a finger on my problem. I started to put all of my medical files together and see how my problem started to add up. I was in OCS in the national guard and while training for the 3 mile run (3 miles for OCS), I had a PE. While trying to maintain military standards, I became ill and almost died. I had no idea I had GWI, and I was in the military. The VA should put out warnings to all gulf war vets from the 90-91 gulf-war to be checked out. It would be easy to find the vets still serving. I know for myself, I did not want to have that stigma of being broken.

      The VA needs to train it’s doctors and PAs on GWI. Do more research and come up with solutions. The next generation of vets are starting to experience the same illness. If it’s the military causing the problem, then they need to change the way we are preparing our soldiers for war. There needs to be a solution. And the solution needs to happen now. Also, because gulf war vets are dropping dead from heart attacks, PEs and CVAs. There needs to a way to put out warnings to vets. GWI is expanding to brain cancer, hypercoagulation Problems and many more problems. The list needs to be expanded to include all illness after 3 or more of the illnesses have been proven under the current list.

      Well thank you for reading this.

      Scott Wagenmaker. Clarksville TN

  23. Peter Greene May 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Secretary Shinseki, it is a shame that your lack of oversight of VA operations has declined to the point that veterans are dying because of it. Your disdain and actions against ill Gulf War Veterans is deplorable and you should be truly ashamed of yourself and your staff.

    I appreciate your service and sacrifices as a soldier. However, I think a cabinet position has not suited you well. I ask that you resign now while you still can and let us put someone in charge that will actively reform the VA instead of giving it lip service while hiding in his office on the 10th floor, not returning calls from Congressmen and actively working against Gulf War Veterans.

    I might be disabled from toxic wounds suffered in the Persian Gulf War but I’d gladly takeover your job tomorrow. At least veterans would know they have a friend at the VA instead of whatever the hell it is that you are doing (or not doing as the case may be).

    Please resign, take your retirement and go live in Florida somewhere, enjoy the sunshine and quit killing veterans.

  24. Charles May 25, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I just want to throw in my two cents here.
    I was enrolled in Orlando VA medical center, where I was amazed at the level of care I was able to receive there. They are by far, the best medical facility I’d ever stepped foot in (before and after my active service, better than any private sector hospital, and better than any NHS medical care I ever received during the many years that I’ve lived in Great Britain, while I was a resident there). Everyone, and I mean everyone that worked there was so dedicated to the vets I nearly shed tears every time I visit.
    Recently, I’ve returned from the UK and am living in Alabama, a state in my opinion is one of the most Patriotic states I know and in an area that is home to US Army Aviation (you probably guessed right if you guessed Ft Rucker). You’d think with that prestige, the VA care here would be astounding, but that could be further from the truth, and if you ask any vet in the area, they’d tell you the same. I went into a local VA center here in Daleville to ask about VA services offered in the area, and instead of getting the basic information I was hoping to get, I was forced to file a disability claim form because they would not speak to me otherwise. It was incompetent and wasted my time and undoubtedly taxpayer dollars. Every contact I’ve had with the VA in this region has been equally horrid. I’ve called up the Lyster VA line here on many occasions only to have my call hung up on without so much as a hello. It’s appalling and embarrassing.

  25. Pamela Rosengard May 25, 2014 at 10:21 am

    West Roxbury VA killed my father, I wrote the president, senators for help before this death and no response. My father would still be alive today if they did not ignore him for days. He died from a curable infection.
    He gave to our country and you took his life at the end.

  26. Lloyd Evans May 25, 2014 at 10:04 am

    30 mos of discomfort has morphed into pain. A fall in 2011 showed no abnormality to the hips and my VA PCP was thorough and great – he then passed me over to Ortho. My VA orthopedist, under whose care I have been since 2/21/14 was fast and good, he recommended a hip replacement…he put in the order Th., 5/22/14 . Now what? I live in an area rife with large hospitals, this week I’m going to be vocal about being fee- based into one of them ASAP. I’m hopeful that Gen./Sect. Shinseki’s words will have impacted to the level of my VAMC (Salisbury NC) . (I’m IU [70%], age 75, 6′-0″, 185, USMC and fit – I’ve miles to go and much to do. I champion over 5,000 vets that have served Taiwan since 1949 to present, most of us are ‘Nam Vets from all branches of our military.

  27. Michael F Mendez May 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    As I have already complained about VA evaluations and the poor treatment by the VA Regional Offices (in Kansas), you have yet to do anything. You are just fighting the fires as they come up and ignoring other corruption that exist within the organization. We are not talking about the people doing the work but the people managing the facilities as such, you Eric are part of the management problem by focusing on just this problem at VA hospitals. The saying “The Shadow of the Leader”, it is reflected in the management of an organization.

  28. Chip Holmes May 24, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Seriously?? I think it’s great that a few have went in and had a good experience. But should that leave me in a, “I got mine”, attitude? When the Vietnam Vets went through Agent Orange, I thought, this will never happen again. Then the Gul War happens. Till this day, I watch as most have no idea as to what the common problems are, they lump us with OIF Veterans, fail to give us a justifiable name for it, snub their nose at Congress and replace their committee (RAC)with their own members, Do their very best to lose reports and lead the IOM the way they want them, doing everything possible to make an exposure to chemicals not be the thing staring people in the face, by downplaying it with verbiage and using anything possible to cloud the water. People this is not political! Unless your politician is downplaying this and they are part of the problem. This is not rocket science. We knew, with over a decade of war, we would have a lot of vets. But it was not a money problem. As Congress gave them the money they needed. A bonus should never be paid to an employee who helps Veterans! If you can’t do it for the salary or because you want to be there. We don’t want you! It all starts at the top and he needs to be the first to go. Thank you for your service, but many are suffering from inactions

  29. Joel David Krall May 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Care is inconsistent. Good sometimes – not so good others. There should only be one standard. A complaint is about my teeth…. been waiting for surgery well over a year…
    More complaints would be that you tell your doctor something (regardless of doctor) and it gets entered wrong on your records. For example. After being on every psych drug and anticonvulsants etc… for my conditions and all of them not working or making my health worse… I tell my doctor this – they look and tell me that they see I have tried everything – but then they put down that I refuse medication. I have asked to see a dermatologist for over 4 years… look at my records… no skin problems – hmmmm. It took an act of god to get a cane and a walker – if you don’t ask you probably will never get… MY biggest pet peeve is GULF WAR ISSUES…. No matter how many times I mention it…. I get the same crap. During my C&P I was met with an attitude like I was faking everything and that there was no such thing. Well, even after getting 100% P&T my record is so F&*^#@ up…. and to fix it would take years the way things work now. In the Army your word goes so much further… with the VA it is not so… you are guilty guilty and guilty

  30. Raymond Melninkaitis May 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    This was my input to the article the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) put out on the letter written by Senator Burr. Senator Burr wrote “I believe the national and local commanders of every VSO have the interests of their members at heart, and take seriously their commitment to their members and their organization. Unfortunately, I no longer believe that to be the case within the Washington executive staff of the VSOs that testified. Last week’s hearing made it clear to me that the staff has ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections than they are to the needs of their own members.” Well, sometimes the truth hurts. If you look at the situation from the bottom, shit flows downhill. I do believe that there is a “good old boy” attitude in Washington that does eventually hurt the Veterans. This also goes for Congress. The more they talk, the more we die. I for one am for a major shakeup at the DVA, and then investigate the VSO leadership for complicity.

  31. Paul Kallembach May 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I was just released from Hines VA Hospital after a 3 day stay for testing for limp node cancer.
    Never in my life have I ever seen more curtess, proffessional, caring care from the entire staff. They exemplify the true meaning of proffessional medical care. Thank you to the 8th floor team!

  32. Pstr. Frank James Foster, SVC/DAV Chptr. 26 of Huntsville Alabama May 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    How do we get in touch with “you” to voice our concerns about maltreatment and a lack of treatment as well as shoddy and slipshod care presented by a certain doctor in the Huntsville CBOC that is losing patients because of this treatment or the lack of it?

  33. Jim Neeley May 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Sec. Shinseki is doing a great job. I use Puget Sound, Amercian Lake as my Health Provider. I am being treated with health problems due to Agent Orange exposure. My Drs. & Staff at Amercian Lake have been excellent in my treatment. They are caring professionals! I would not trade them for any other Medical facility! If there are problems else where, find them and correct them. I don’t believe you could mind a more dictated person than Sec. Shinseki to head the VA! I support him 110%!

  34. CSM Allen V. Cheesman May 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    No Sir. It is time for you to step down. What has tragically happened to our Warriors and their Families is the result of complacency and dereliction within the ranks. This is precisely why Commands are limited to two years! As the Commander you ARE responsible for ALL that occurs on your watch and you CANNOT evade responsibility! SMA (R) Jack Tilley should be the new VA Secretary! He has proven his care and loyalty to our Warriors! President George W Bush should lead the reform and oversight of the VA to streamline efficiency and access to care! Do the right thing and step aside! To do otherwise proves you are self-serving and unworthy!

  35. Cheryl Chappel May 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I’m pleased that this issue has come to light, and that there will be some sort of resolve soon. Veterans should never have to experience any mis treatment at any facility at any time. Thank you for a quick resolution. Now let’s address the CLAIM process this is another area that nee to be addressed. I find it most concerning that it has taken my husband 18 months for an answer concerning his disability rating. With that he was not paid for his dependents because he didn’t turn in a marriage certificate my grip is not the fact that the certificate wasn’t turned in it because he seas instructed to what was needed? Finally being paid for 1 dependent after a 2 year waiting period again VA couldn’t get it right they didn’t add all of his dependents? The bottom line is that the VA may need to hire other whom are willing to help our veterans. I would like to see my dependents added and a decision on my husbands Appeal soon. The most disorganized system I have ever experienced. Lets get people in the VA that want to work?

  36. Alice C Fisher Aldag May 24, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Part one of three

    Dear General Shinseki,

    It is with great skepticism that I read of your promises to improve the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. My husband, a disabled veteran of the Gulf War, and I were present at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day 2011, where we heard you and President Obama promise to improve the quality of VAMC care and decrease the backlog of claims for service-related disability compensation. My concern is that an internal audit of the VA by the VA will be ineffectual, that conditions may improve “on paper” but not in reality, that incompetence and malfeasance will be covered up by transferring personnel rather than punished by demotions, firings, and removal from office. We worry that records will be hidden or “lost” and that cronyism will subvert the actual desire to improve the VA overall.

    There are two major problems with the current VA: that of the compensation and pension review board, and that of certain medical facilities. The level of care varies widely. Several VA Medical Centers are fantastic – they employ knowledgeable doctors, caring staff, and efficient administration. Wait times are short and satisfaction is high. This includes the VAMC in Ann Arbor MI and the VAMC in Chicago, IL. However, the level of care at the VAMC in Battle Creek, MI is terrible. Especially the Urgent Care clinic, and the incompetence of some of the primary care doctors.

  37. Ted May 24, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I asked my va doctor , if she would help me fill out my va claim sheet. She said she could not because she worked for the Va she has now went into private practice. She said with out a doubt my medical problems were caused by my service connected disability. She said she would not help because she worked for the VA. If she reads this she knows its true and now needs to help.

  38. USNavyVet May 24, 2014 at 8:24 am

    The Department of Veteran Affairs Wilmington Delaware is in direct violation of every veterans rights, by covering up a Legionella problem in their facility under the direct supervision of the Pittsburgh VA VISN 4 leadership , who received a $63,000 .00 bonus. The Department has retaliated against 2 whistleblower employees and the Office of the Inspector General has not investigated their allegations. The Office of Special Counsel has limited investigatory powers and only receives information back that is only one sided and only in favor of what they want the OSC to know. The OSC has not published the Disclosure files which is required by their own statue. The facility has been cancelling patient appointments and blaming it on the veteran. This is shameful and dishonoring to all military medical standards. The current director stated in an article on April 21, 2014 that the facility does not have these problems.http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/04/20/wilmington-va-medical-center-cuts-wait-mental-health-help/7948527/

  39. Pat Jahnke May 24, 2014 at 6:12 am

    In Feb 2014 my Dr retired from Madison will. Shortly after that 4 more retired. So that means no doctor to help the vets. So nurses fill in so call doctors. Will my nurse cancel all the narcotic drugs without any for withdraw problem. Know it 3 months no meds for my burn. They feel doc know say gabapentin will do burn nerve pain internet aside no. Please note their are many other vets in same boat as me. I feel their a meno out to the doctor No Narcotic drug to vets. After 4 yrs it help antidepressants drug Don’t work I try them4 yrsago . Madison via west clinic went to the bottom for veteran heath care. No help at hospital patients ac and upper office.

  40. Michael May 24, 2014 at 3:46 am

    …The problem is, concerning the status of the VA system, is that in America we dont do a good job watching over organizations. Alot of times it seems that there are NO checks and balances, so we can discover these problems BEFORE they wind up KILLING veterans. And the top guy is responsible for this. Hes the one that MUST make sure thal all facilities are checked periodically to see that ALL procedures are followed.

  41. Renegade3 May 24, 2014 at 1:58 am

    It is all fine and dandy the a big investigation is taking place, but let us Veterans never forget that this is the same system that has been screwing Vets since WWI. What makes anyone think it will change now. I’am glad to hear some of you get great health care at your local VA! I go through Hopkins personally because I simply lost faith and patience with my local VA in Martinsburg, WV. I do not agree with Shinseki’s numbers of 96% approval by vets. I challenge him to provide what group and VA was pooled.

    As an Infantryman in a Recon detachment I did some crazy shit with my men…some of which I would not have done and regret if I had known we would not be “Taken care of and supported” once we came back from war. It all goes back to this for me personally. “Knowing the hazards of my chosen profession” the VA failed! We achieved greatness! Shenseki not only stole my black beret and gave it to the whole army, but he stole my trust! He is a joke and needs to take responsibility. Pointing fingers is not going to fix things. Real work in the trenches of these broken VA hospitals will.
    A big thanks to the DAV! You all are amazing! To all my brothers and sisters, don’t just be a Facebook Patriot! If this shit really tugs at your heart strings, get up and do something!

    SFC B (RET)
    RLTW

  42. Yvonne G May 24, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I sir disagree that you have fixed the issues. My husband has been waiting on the Louisville Regional office to straighten out his claim. The notice of disagreement is now over 440 calendar days (or over 320 business days). Why sir should our veterans have to fight for their benefits. How would you, members of the Senate or Congress, or the directors of the regional offices like to fight for your pay? You’re entitled to your pay right? Because you have allegedly earned it right? Well these veteran’s fought for the rights of millions on the promise that they would be cared for for their service connected diseases/disabilities, why shouldn’t they be granted what they were promised????

  43. Domingo Aguilar May 24, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Hopefully now my dependency claim that has been ongoing for the last four years will finally get done. RIGHT?

    • SPC Smith May 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

      My claim is 6 1/2 years old . THESE PEOPLE ARE SCUMBAGS!!!!

  44. Deb CM May 24, 2014 at 12:46 am

    ….”misconduct has surfaced over the last several weeks”. Really!?!? Where have you been!! You are a disgrace to the men snd women you searved with and now represent!! Resign!!

  45. Jerseyvet May 24, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Get rid of the teachers college out of the VA. The old days they made deals with doctors to work a couple days a month to work off their student loans and get a little retirement. They work for 15 to 20 years and they can maintain their private pratice. These students doctors make mistakes abd the current full time staff can not keep up with the volume and can only sample the student doctors or interns. Recently the intern missed read my mri report, it caused unnecessary hardship.I went from an injury should of healed in 3 months to still recovering over a year and a half. The VA has provided all the medical braces etc. But the VA emergency did not even have a simple immobilisation brace. I am now doing pt outside the VA that has more equipment. I been out of the wheel chair for 2 months. But a lot of this could of been avoided.

  46. BU2 May 23, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    So the VA is investigating the VA?
    I trust that! No reason to cover anything up, right? Everything is above board with our government.

  47. Mandinka May 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    General for you to claim that you just now found out about the problems even though the IG TOLD you that there was cooking the books so that Feds could receive bonuses in 2010.
    As for disability claims the DAV has stated that the backlog is down Butttt the error rate is over 70%. I’ve been waiting on my disability check for $36,000 for over 2 years with nothing but excuses

  48. Joseph Betts May 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Last week I had trouble breathing. I am 100% disabled. At 11:40 I called the VA clinic here in Plattsburgh, and was told, “well, don’t come here, we close in 20 minutes to go to lunch.” I was/am pissed. I reported this to the VA hospital in Albany.

  49. Warren Barshes May 23, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I am a 100% service-connected disabled Vietnam Veteran. I go to the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center in Honolulu for my health care. The medical staff and my primary care physician have always treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. Sure, it can take somewhat longer than expected for some specialty treatments, but I’ve just come to expect that and don’t see the sense in whining about it. I receive quality health care from the best medical and health professionals. Mahalo, VA!

  50. Jerry Hiratd May 23, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I don’t want to hear what he says or even look at the incompetent cabinet member. How often does Obama have a cabinet meeting? Not often enough apparently.

    The Northampton, MA VAMC at Leeds has treated me just fine . So hasn’t the Springfield , Ma Out Patient Clinic.

    The gross mishandling of our Vets is unpatriotic and murderous .

    Incompetence at its best. We have to fight to remain Americans .

  51. Nicole May 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I am a veteran and a pt at the wpb va and I also worked there for a short time. The stories I heard from other nurses about how people would hit or ignore patients (some leading to deaths) yet that person was merely moved to another floor. I was so disgusted by the way some mental health techs treated the patients. They would push them and talk down to them and ignore them while playing on their phones. I, as learned during my military background, went up the CoC with my concerns and was told that the patient complaints made to me and how disgruntled staff were was just “heresay.” I filed a complaint with the union but they told me that so many complaints had been filed about how some people treat patients but nothing is ever done. Someone even told me once “its a governmebt job; you can do whatever you want but they will never fire you.” After a month, I submitted my resignation. I hope the VA cleans house now that they are being forced to pull up the rug.

  52. Ken May 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    James Hailey and Bay pines have both taken great care of me

  53. John McCullough May 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Called two days ago to set up an appointment to see my VA doctor at the Oxnard, Ca. Clinic, have yet to get an appointment or a call back to set up one.

  54. W.M. Smith - Navy & VA retired May 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Sir: I served & was medically honorably discharged from the Navy after:18 1/2 years – due to: Traumatic Brain Injury, Seizure disorder and finally Crainiotomy – while still in the Navy. This occurred in 1984. Back then PTSD was not even considered. I recently retired from the Department of Veteran Affairs as a field examiner after 25+ years at age 63. The signs and symptoms of PTSD, memory issues, confusion, multi-hospitalizations, blood clots and a three page list of problems was my reason to leave the VA. I crawled under underpasses for years, took calls 24/7 (even during vacations), listened to the cries of family members and Veterans asking when their claims would be approved, talked to Vets in the middle of the night to prevent suicide and listen to the fears and nightmares living in their brains from the wars and fights they live with every hour and day of their lives. I have seen the claims stacked on desk and left unattended in the Regional Office, people more interested in what they are having for lunch than processing a claim – because they DO NOT understand medical terms, the history of the Veteran or the needs that the Veteran is requesting. Phone calls are not returned or the VA representative is rude and really feels “put off” because the call was even placed. This department is failing not only the Veteran’s – but – all Americans. The VA is not keeping the promise to protect and defend each and every citizen – especially the people that have served and defended their country. Why should Veteran’s/families wait for years to receive the benefits they deserve, why must they prove each and every word and statement, why are claims repeatedly denied or returned or placed “on-hold”? If a death occurs in the public sector – accountability is found in a court of law and there is a verdict. You as the Administrative Director and/or Secretary – are the one ultimately responsible for ALL actions in the VA. My fight has started for an increase in my benefits (I currently only receive 20% for a TBI-seizure activity-Crainiotomy); and, I recently got out of the hospital (again) because of a PE and DVT. I left the VA without a thank-you, an exit interview and believe me “no gold watch or bonus”. No worker bee in the VA get’s bonuses – only the administrative and supervisors. The whole VA system is failing and needs re-structure, new leadership and strict guidelines to clean up this department.
    Sincerely, William M. Smith

  55. Ron Bartolucci May 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I am service connected(100%)I have been going to the VA for 52 years and I’m still kicking.

  56. Patrick May 23, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Can someone please call General James Mattis and ask if he wants the job? This wont be an issue after that…

  57. Alberto Robles May 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I have received since the year 2000 excellent care at the Bruce Carter V.A. facility. However, in the Gold Team there is woman that disrespected me and did not showed me any courtesy; Ttherefore I filed a compalint against her. Keep up the good work Mr. President and your word to all Veterans!

  58. Francis J Martin Jr. May 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    This is just a reminder that time is on VA side in respects to the true facts. We Viet Nam Vets who have claims in for more then 2 years now that in short time away we will all die and VA will never have to worry about us anymore. We have been lied to and seem to wast out time talking to people. We will always look out for one another because It is are duty to take care of each other. We Viet Nam Vets will always help our brothers and sisters of our war. God Bless America.

  59. alberto robles May 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Since the year 2000 i have recived excellent care at the V.A hospital in Miami,Florida. How ever, there is a lady at the gold team that did not showed me or treated me with the proper respect. I had ti file a compalint agiainst her!This is very shameful experoence that no veteran should have to tolerate. Thank very much Mr. President for you support of all veterans!! Keep up the good work and your promises tu us!!!

  60. Melody Woods May 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I am disabled from SSD, 80% with the VA. I applied for my unemployable, got denied over two years ago and still in the appeal process, still sitting on the desk of the one who denied my case the first time. What is the hold up I ask? All my doctors have sent letters stating I am unemployable, but some bean counter knows better then several Medical doctors.

  61. Melody Woods May 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I have knee problems, I fall several times a week, and from these falls I now have injured my back, my shoulders, my neck, and my wrist. I have informed my VA primary care doctor. Her recommendation for an ortho appointment was in February 2014, my appointment is not until the end of June! Where is the 7 day, 14 day appointment? I am in Geneva AL and the VA ortho is located in Montgomery AL about 2 hours away. Still in pain each day, still falling several times a week … Upset, yes I am upset when a civilian working for the VAcan get KNEE surgery in just a few weeks but Imhave been battling this for years!

  62. Ed May 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    It seems to me that there is a big problem with the va health care system in general. There is absolu no reason that any veteran should have to wait more than a few days to see a Dr. Then for people to falsify records, they should be thrown in jail. Shame on the department of veterans affairs for letting these people get away with this. I think it is time for the VA to get real and really be honest with the public as to what is really going on especially with the gulf war vets. Too many people should be without jobs. I do know if i filed faulse documentation, I would have consequences. Why aren’t the people falsifying records being held accountable? This has gone way too far, it is time all of you people in government start having consequences for your actions and quit taking advantage of the budget given to you by the taxpayers. Signed, a seriously tired veteran who is tired of all the government crap! P.S. Dear Mr. Secretary: Please resign and let someone else do the job that would hold people accountable!

  63. Joshua G May 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    And to be honest it truly seems that folks that dont deserve benefits get them and the ones that try to stay strong, but really need them do not get benefits because they don’t go in there crying and wailing like the other little girls that do. It is so ridiculous to see so many veterans (women in particular) get PTSD benefits that sat on a FOB and did next to nothing. Some of the men I’ve even seen in there speak about combat and certain situations and claim MOS’s and places they’ve been and have no idea what they are even talking about…And we all know you are full of shit. Lingo and failing to call equipment by the wrong names…I hate that shit. I heard someone just last week stating he fast roped out of an Apache….really?? Its a 2 man helo that doesnt carry passengers or equipment of that sort. That garbage burns me up. Rant over…Carry on

  64. bob bole May 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for your service Mr. Secretary—that said i must say your comments seem to be aimed at building up a disgraceful commander in chief—he does not care a bit about America or her vets. Please put your efforts into cleaning up the system for us.

  65. DJ May 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Boston Massachusetts- I have had my date of claim changed randomly for no apparent reason and was not contacted about the change. I realized the dates were changed once I looked at my eBenefits account and saw that the estimated time of completion was six months longer than what it was prior. I then contacted the VA who said that there was no reason. When attempting to contact the VA, it took me moths to come in contact with an actual human being due to the seemingly random hours and lack of personnel available. Luckily for me I am a young individual who can figure out how to utilize eBenefits and work my way through the automated phone systems that are extremely time consuming and confusing. For older veterans, they struggle to find the help they need simply because the VA makes it a point not to be reached easily.

  66. LTC (Retired) J. Hinnant May 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    My son has received care at the VA in Augusta, Ga. AND Phoenix, Arizona. Both times…excellent service was given.

    Now, however, we see things have gone downhill in a number of facilities in a number of ways – likely due to the hiring of Administration cronies, political hacks and self-serving, unqualified candidates to meet certain “hiring objectives.”

    You want the trust of Veterans? Take real action to remove the trash. No “early retirements” – no “suspensions with pay.”

    When in charge take charge, General. I know you know what that means.

    Summarily fire the guilty – and don’t look back.

  67. Juan May 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    General Shinseki I have respect for You but Sir is not fair for us Veterans to be treat the way we are, with the greatest respect as a soldier is not true that the backlog is decrease is nooot, I am not not able to work since January, 2012 because my Service Connected Disabilities I did applied for SSDI and Disability Retirement thru OPM and I was found Disable by this two Government Agency I applied November, 2012 for unemployability because I could not work any longer and today is May, 2014 and VA denied My claim pass to BVA which still seats on my VA Regional Office not even getting to Washington, no Sir please with all respect do not say that the backlog is reduce because is nooot, VA keep denying claims so it can look good in paper to the executives when you Sir and your executive do not need to look good to each other you need to be respect by US THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VETERANS!

    • Noe May 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      I applied for a cancer claim from the contaminated water in camp lejeune back in February, I sent in all the paperwork they requested , I called this morning to check status of my claim, they told me it was gonna be 13 months before they would even review my claim !! WTF !! IM going to chemo n radiation on a daily basis, dont know if im gonna be here in 13 months…..
      MR SHINSESKI if you really wanna straighten this mess you can start with my case .

  68. James S. May 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Bull. YOU and obama BOTH knew this crap was going on.. it was leaked out last year. Both of you FEIGN anger and contempt for a broken system when you’ve known about it for quite some time. Dont blow smoke up our A** and tell us its sunshine.. we are VETERANS not MORONS.

  69. Anonymous employee May 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Keep blowing smoke at the people. I work at the VA in Memphis if you truly wanted to know of all the illegal activities going on here you would visit and talk to the employees. Not stay in your plush office in DC

  70. tom croff May 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Lead us or follow us, SIR.

  71. USAF ColdWar Vet May 23, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    General, Sir, I do not ‘blame” you, for it was not you that initially caused this present situation; but, respectfully, Sir, it WAS you, that could have instrumentally stopped the situation from going further.

    To begin, I’d like to elaborate for those so-called “news commentators” who referred to Cold War era Veterans as “desk jockeys” because “we were not directly involved in deadly armed conflict”.
    …So that I’m clear, I am in no way marginalizing, but – respectfully – I defy anyone who EVER woke to the klaxon on a active SAC base, and hoped – and prayed – that it was “only a drill”..

    First, when I joined the AF, events that set the course for what is now the “Iran Hostage Crisis” (the Siege of the Embassy in Iran) had YET to happen, and the incursion into Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union was mere months away FROM happening…
    Furthermore, USAF Strategic Air Command was – by inherent definition – THE ‘weapon of mass destruction’, for it was in our hands, EVERY day on post, and we took it very,very,very seriously.

    I was barely 20 years old, when I suffered a heart attack on base. Hospitalized over three months, I was Honorably Discharged from the Service, upon being discharged from the Hospital.

    However, because a nurse practitioner stated it wasn’t important to relay during my enlistment physical (Fort Hamilton, NY 1979) that I had a murmur, I didn’t receive my SCD recognition for twenty-three years, because the New York VA’s position was that my cardiac abnormality was “congenital” in nature – even though it was ADMITTED by the VA at a PRB in 2003 that my murmur “was detected, but not reported” during the enlistment physical.

    To further consolidate the complicity in their willful negligence, it was decided by the New York VA – in association with the Regional Review Board in PA – that, in order
    to receive an increase on my rating (40%), that I would basically have to “suffer and survive” another heart attack.

    (Layman’s terms: I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant)

    Although the scope of present events can – and may – eclipse my situation, I share in it, because NO Serviceman should have to wait months, much less TWENTY-THREE years (the COMBINED Administrations of Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr.) before receiving care that they duly earned.

  72. David Cash May 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I am a veteran without a combat related condition. When I enlisted I was promised access to VA health services for life. I served my six year contract and now expect the government to honor their part of the agreement. I was wrong. I am now told that they have imposed an income qualification. If I make over some arbitrary limit I am excluded from the health care services My service to this country has earned. Moral of the story–Don’t trust anything the government tells you!

  73. Chris45 May 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Sorry, Shinseki, you failed miserably. The second rate care at the Va facilities I have been to are what seems to be the norm. I feel you are the one that should be held accountable for the misconduct of your staff.To testify before Congress and say you are mad is hell is patronizing at best. Most veterans will not say it but I feel you are just a political appointee hack that has no business as head of the VA system. Remember, General, if it happens on your watch, you are ultimately responsible. But, be it as it may, you will pass the buck and not own up to the criminal activity of your staff. You, sir , are no leader and should be ashamed of your conduct. I, like many veterans, have lost trust and confidence in your ability to lead.

  74. James Renault May 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I spent 41 days in V.A. Hospital Palo Alto California with heart problems and finally a ring replacement to the valve. The staff was wonderful and could not do enough for you. Draw back was the food, but that is like any other hospital. Luckily family visited daily and doctor O.K’d them to bring in food. Never saw a bill for any thing.If I didn’t have the V.A. I would now be homeless. A BIGTHANKS TO THE V.A.

  75. Douglas Haynes May 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Until the main concern of administrators is no longer the amount of dollars spent, and the focus of the VA becomes Veterans, the VA will stay the same as it has been for years. Giving lip service to the press and moving the numbers around to appear that positive actions are being taken seems to be the plan of the day. It would be easier to simply state that VA administrators make too much money, cut their salaries or their jobs and focus on caring for Veterans!

  76. Richard Robinson May 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    An example of the kind of stuff that happens…
    I worked at the South Florida National Cemetery and the foreman there was a retired MSG who served with the Army Corps of Engineers. He collected his retirement and was currently only at 30%. It is documented, on numerous occasions, him stating that he needs to get his rating above 50% so that his disability compensation doesn’t get taken out of his monthly retirement pay. So another fellow employee, a retired Lt. Col, called a few “friends” that he knew at the West Palm Beach VAMC and he met up with him. He informed him that one of the easiest ways to get a higher rating is to claim hearing loss, to go in and this is what you say when they ask you questions during the evaluation. He was raised to 80% about a month later. Now, these hearing aids stayed in his pocket and he only put them on when he went to appointments at the VAMC. The first couple of days he wore them he would put on ear muff hearing protection because the hearing aids were “way too loud” and it was as though every one was screaming at him. He would joke about how easy it was to “dupe” the system. In light of my situation he asked if I wanted the contact info of the physician to expedite my claim, I refused. Morally and ethically I couldn’t do it, and it is this mans actions that adds to the delay of other veterans who NEED the help and compensation. It is nothing short of disgusting.

  77. Jake Jaquith May 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Cooking the books, Gun Decking whatever you call it is a failure of Integrity. This is the lowest of low those who were in charge and the ones who cooked the books should be done with the VA PERIOD. When it comes to veteran care those who have never served can’t truly understand the sacrifice service members and Veterans make every day.
    “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
    Abraham Lincoln made that pledge to America’s Civil War veterans during his Second Inaugural Address, in 1865. Nearly a century and a half later later, the Department of Veterans Affairs has failed thier own Core message.
    CORE VALUES
    Military service in not just another job. Neither is working for VA. We make it a point to reflect the core values America’s veterans have taught us by their example.
    To not hold true on the promise of Health care for those sacrifices is a Failure and Travesty of this administration and its only a matter of time before they all go.

  78. gary robinson May 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I have had treatment at Salem VA,,Durham VA, Beckley VA medical centers and have had great treatment! Dealt with me with respect and understanding! I hope that things are taking care of and veterans have as good as care that I have! Been in care since 1967 thru present! Take care of business! May 23,2014

  79. Richard Robinson May 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    People, especially non-veterans, need to know and understand just how flawed the VA system is. I have been battling the system since 1997 when I was crushed under a track vehicle in 29 Palms CA. I put a claim in with the injuries I received and the residual problems that came from them. I was denied 6 months later and proceeded to battle back and forth with the VA for about 4 years. I gave up out of sheer frustration, like too many vets do. I was deployed to Iraq in 2008 and 2010 and it was during those deployments that those injuries were aggravated GREATLY. A few of the injuries that I had been previously denied for I was awarded in 2013 after a 2 year wait on a new claim. However, one of the injuries I received was a badly damaged shoulder in 2008 and it was denied. They claimed that there was no evidence of this injury happening on active service, though it is plainly documented and they surgically repaired it. In one regard they deny it and in the other they accept it. I am still waiting on a PTSD diagnosis that is on the current claim from Jan 2013 and for which I have been receiving treatment for the past 18 months. Jan 2013 the claim started and in Oct 2013 they needed further evidence and told me to send it to them. I sent it to them and unknowingly this new evidence started my claim from the beginning again, therefore eliminating the back pay I would have gotten all they back to Jan 2013. This is all happening at the West Palm Beach, FL VAMC. It has been a very long and arduous journey and one that I have all I can do to deal with. Not to mention the 3 times they have relocated the VSO that has initiated claims for me and I have had to restart them. It is shameful and disgraceful that veterans have to deal with this nonsense. I also know plenty of vets that are rated 80%-100% and laugh/joke about how easy it is to get when you know the right people. It happens all too often and sickens me that veterans take advantage of the system and delay things for the veterans that actually NEED the services and claims.

  80. Steven Grove May 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    The Long Beach VA has given me excellent care. I have had four major surgeries at LBVA. I have also been treated at the Loma Linda VA, and the Indianapolis VA. I have received far better care at the VA than I would have at a private hospital. The doctors nurses and staff have always treated me with respect.
    Why? I do not make myself a victim. I do my homework. I followup on all my paperwork. Never miss an appointment. I ask for help. I say please. If I have a concern I first give a compliment. I give smiles. I thank everyone.

  81. Francisco Zamarripa May 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I have used the San Diego VA hospital for many years with excellent care. However, my complaint is with the military exit/separation process and the re-evaluation to raise disability ratings. There are major flaws. I am also trying to register for agent orange exposure during my training phase as a USMC MP at Ft. McClellan Alabama. That base was closed on 5/20/1999 due to extreme levels of hazardous and toxic chemicals. The government or the VA never contacted veterans of the closure and denied us the opportunity to get treatment or exams for our health. The VA has no registration for agent orange, only for Vietnam exposure. We were left behind and no one is claiming fault.

  82. Harb May 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I find this letter to be nothing more than cover. The General says that claims of misconduct have just recently surfaced. I say bull. Obama ran on cleaning up the V.A. in 2008. I have been utilizing the V.A. system since 1993 and rarely have I ever found a vet who thought they were getting the ‘best treatment ever’. Doctors who shouldn’t even be practicing medicine are near the top of my list on who should be deleted from the system. Office staff who routinely fail to update records or pass along info just because they don’t like you or don’t feel the need to do it are at the very top. In over 20 years of care from the V.A., I can say I have been treated better by civilian services than I have the V.A.

    This abuse has been going on back before Clinton was elected yet no one has done anything to clear it up. No, it is not Obama’s fault that it has happened but he claimed he would stop it in 2008. It is now 2014 and he is claiming he just found out. Once again I call bull.

    General Shinseki can say whatever he wants but he has failed us for 5 years. He knew of these problems when he was nominated and confirmed as Secretary. Now he is just trying to cover his own ass.

  83. Leah-ann May 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    My husband (A combat veteran) fell off a ladder on Thursday, 17,April was not able to walk. I called The VA they said I couldn’t take him for X-rays or treatment until Monday, 21, April. At that the Va doctor we had seen referred him to Orthopedics. The appointment is scheduled for 7, July!!! In the mean time my husband is in a great deal of pain.

  84. Pedro May 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    On August 24. I was due for a colonoscopy at GI Lab at this facility, as I was approaching the information desk (at the main entrance), my self and my driver asked a lady that was sitting on that chair. How to get to the GI Lab? Her response was I’m studying- “She did had a book on her hand”. This person should not be… See More
    Like · · about 9 months ago
    K Lowe Harmon, Lee Lavergne and 3 others like this.

    K Lowe Harmon That is horrible. Hope everything went well after that!
    August 27, 2013 at 12:33pm · Like

    Pedro Ortiz The GI Lab staff were wonderful to us – Recommendation: Repeat colonoscopy in 10 years for screening purposes. Thanks for asking….
    August 27, 2013 at 12:49pm · Like

  85. william beckett May 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I have nothing but praise for the Mansfield Ohio VA Clinic and Louis B stokes VA Hospital in Cleveland Ohio. They put vets 1st and take care of Business. Thanks for the caring people at these two locations. I find it a little bit odd that after bonuses were paid, the announcements came of the VA scandal at some locations. I would hope you will recover the bonuses from the criminal actions of some. Thank you for your time.

  86. Lee May 23, 2014 at 11:57 am

    While many veterans do receive quality care from VA (myself included) we must never forget the toxic culture that permeates through every level of VA. While Shinseki states data to support this claim, we must remember the culture of cover up and fraud that likely skews these numbers and hides much of the real data. For example, I am on day 330 for my current VA claim. Yet, the Seattle Regional Office states that they are completing claims in less than 180 days on the VA aspire site. Something doesn’t add up and data is falsified, not consistent in the way it is tracked, and downright unreliable.

    To say that these issues are new is a lie. Obama and Shinseki have known for at least a year about poor care ad preventable deaths within VA and have done nothing until now. VA IG does not perform their due diligence during inquires, and this fact was annotated in a letter from the Office Special Counsel in a letter to the President last year.

    The real question is whether Shinseki is capable of alienating himself from the bureacratic and politically driven nature of the VA in order to fix it. In my dealings with the VA, I have witnessed a culture and organization filled with incompetence that goes unpunished. Veterans are constantly denied the benefits they are entiteld and this takes the form of compensation benefits, Voc Rehab claims, GI Bill claims and countless others.

    There are many within VA’s ranks who are completely disconnected from the mission of caring for he who has borne the battle. The comfort of a government job that prevents real accountability measures from taking place is the essence of the VA system.

    Get rid of those who have been there too long. They are part of the problem. Stop lying to us and be honest.

    We expect nothing from our government anymore. Why would we expect anything else?

    We are constantly mislead and lied to by our government. Don’t be fooled. They choose not to act and mislead…..For-shame…

  87. N. Wooten May 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Most of the fluff in the papers is political, your invesagation team works for you! What do you expect to find different? The system is broke, including regional offices. IF you really want to know what is happening: send out a questioner to ALL of the vets in the system, excluding government paid staff !!
    I am a combat Army VN vet who was in country from April 65 to April 67 as a helicopter crew chief/door gunner. I have a 40% db loss in my right ear and 60% db loss in my left ear. The VA provided me with hearing aids but don’t believe the hearing loss is from sitting next to the Huey’s turbine engine, without hearing protection. My appeal’s are now 4-years old, presently sitting in DC waiting for review. I have attended a funeral of a vet with PTSD that simply got too tired of fighting the system for help and due benefits. Health care goes much beyond a bed, doctor, or medications.
    Chech the statistics on the number of vets suffering from PTSD and TBI that are commiting suicide DAILY !! Then you will begin to see the true picture.

  88. Bruce Erdman May 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I am receiving care at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI. It has been as good as any care I have received elsewhere.

  89. Bob Sheridan May 23, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I checked into the Domiciliary at Bay Pines , Florida in 1995. I have been treated for PTSD seeing a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist on a regular basis, I did two years in a Combat Stress group, I had a quadruple bypass where I had a heart attack while the operation was happening. I have been in the ER about 25 times. I had 5 stents put in my heart 2 years ago where I had to be defiibrillated 3 times restarting my heart.plus a Pacemaker was inserted last December. I have had 2 sets of hearing aids plus 2 sets of glasses. 4 MRI’s standing because feel I am trapped in the plane, about 10 CT. scans. A good 30 xrays. Probably 200 blood draws. About 10 Nuclear Stress test. 10 ultrasounds. About 3 months as a inpatient. 2 Cardiac Rehabs. I could double this list. I have been extremely lucky. My care has been 98% positive. The above does not mean that all of my brothers receive the same treatment. I just wanted to make this list to say that that not all of the VA personnel are bad.

    • Richard Robinson May 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I agree with you Bob, However…
      It isn’t a person or some people that is the major issue, it is the system. I had a fantastic Doctor operate and repair my shoulder, she was amazing. That being said I had to wait 15 months for them to do the surgery due to lack of surgeons. I have herniated discs and nerve damage in my lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine and have waited 2 years for them to give me the epidural that they keep promising me. I have a severed sciatic nerve that they have done nothing with. Again, it is not every VAMC that is problematic but it is a large number of them and just one would be too many. I have been treated at 3 VAMC’s and two were ok, but the West Palm Beach VAMC is very problematic. There is one individual there that I use to see all the time, 6 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and sever injuries from being blown up and after 2 years was still waiting on his claim. It is disgraceful and unnecessary no matter where it is and how it happens.

  90. Oswaldo Joubert May 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Also, my service connected claims have been disastrous to my life due to the negligent claims processes. My pay back dates are nit being handled appropriately. My life has been to hell and back due to my claims issues with the VA and not for my fault either. One could make a movie out of my experience with the VA. If it were a civil organization I would be able to malpractice suit the VA for millions due to the horrid treatment I have received in my VA experience since retiring from service. Where is my justice? I know many Veterans that have gotten great treatment and many in my shoes…we want fair and equal treatment across the board. Why do some Veterans get good or better treatment than others? Fix that Mr Shinseki and maybe half of the issues will be solved. Thank you for your service.

  91. Luis Rivera May 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I have many conditions all of them combat (real out the wire missions) and get 0%, appointments are schedule for 8 months wait and have just given up on the VA system. since the beginning I noticed that there was something wrong but I didn’t care, now I will seek my benefits because I knew they were no attending me the way I was suppost to be taking care of. Don’t only blame the VA because there are some “veterans” taking advantage of the system and getting awarded benefits for 30 and 40 year injuries, injuries that hap[pened on their civilian work and now are retired. Other that fake injuries, well I see “veterans” with canes and after they are not on VA the walk just fine and with no canes. many that never even have gone to Iraq or Afganistan no real war danger ( Kuwait, Qatar, etc) and getting 100% claims. this system if wrong in many reasons and the ones getting screwed are the VETERANS tat really need the help and care. Sadly, the VA administration and those other types of “veterans ” are hurting a great system implemented to take care of those in need.

    • Richard Robinson May 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Luis, I reflect your thoughts and couldn’t agree more. I also see the veterans that limp through the halls of the VA Hospital with a cane and a few minutes later you see them walking around the grocery store or somewhere else with no cane and walking better than me. Those bogus claims that get put into the system and get processed are a HUGE part of what has been delaying claims for veterans that follow the system. Now, to top it all off, the pressure has been on the President and Secretary and now they have closed a large number of claims by denying veterans and forcing them to use the appeal process which takes just as long as they original claim. So, 5 years later you get a decision which is great, but for the vets that can’t work for the last 5 years they can’t pay bills or medical ( VA healthcare is only covered if you are awarded a disability rating so until that happens you pay out of pocket expenses). Terrible system

  92. Tim Dukes May 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

    There is a lot of press around the delay in treatment and claims of veterans by the VA these day’s so for the record in my own experience. The VA is a large beauracracy administratively. It is comprised of many department’s. The VBA or Veterans Benefits Administration is the department that oversees claims and grants access to the system and this department is the primary culprit in the claims backlog. Then once a veteran is in the system the VHA or Veterans Health Administration sees to medical care. I have no issues with the health care I have received and it is top notch hands down 300% better than private health care. The beaurarcratic night mare of getting to it is a problem.

  93. James D Taylor May 23, 2014 at 11:25 am

    It took 14 months to be approved after a reevaluation at a V. A. Clinic off 23rd Ave and Northern. The Staff Doctor at that sight said she saw no problem in my request being approved! A couple weeks later recieved letter for reevaluation at the 7th St and Indian School V. A. Regioal Hospital. That Doctor in the Topaz clinic said she saw no justification for any of my requests for an increase in compensation! All Medical Records were present! Something really screwy going on somewhere!!!!

    • Richard Robinson May 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      That is exactly one of the MAJOR problems, one locations medical review will see and say one thing, another location will see and say something of the opposite. Clearly the results of the claims are at the mercy of who is looking at it and whatever their opinion is. I was told that my herniated disc, hemorraged discs, and severed sciatic nerve shouldn’t be a concern of mine because some people don’t have legs or arms. A reviewer actually told me that, out of the Togus VAMC in Augusta, Maine. It is ridiculous how this system is run.

  94. Mike Holcomb May 23, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I have been going to Beaumont, TX clinic for several years. I have had atrial fibulation for the entire time. It was detected by my doctor before I ever went to the VA. I have not been asked or scheduled to se any kind of specialist for this.
    I have also been trying to get a hearing test for at least two years and have been denied the opportunity. I have even sent a message through the secure messaging on the VA web site and still nothing.
    Most of the people there act like they are doing you a favor by serving you. I am sure the majority aren’t volunteers.
    When you go in the room to get bloodwork you are required to tell them your entire social security number orally with other patients in the small room that can hear you. I do not like that.

  95. Jerry Lewis May 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I have HepC, been treated 3 times without success. Went to HepC clinic about 5 months ago and was told that one of the doctors at the VA didn’t want to treat me again since I was treated before. Another doctor wants to get me the new treatments as my liver is in the 3rd stage. Go back to HepC clinic in June and hopefully they will treat me before this viris takes over my liver completly or I get liver cancer. The doctor that dosen’t want to treat me should be dismissed!!!!

  96. Oswaldo Joubert May 23, 2014 at 11:18 am

    As a Veterans who has been on both sides of the treatment scale( +/-) I truly hope you mean what you say. My experiences have been horrific as I have had to lay on a clinic floor for hours waiting to be seen for my service connected back injuries and have waited in the emergency room for 6 hours and left because no one would tend to me. I have had almost a paralyzing experience getting a sciatic nerve block. I have had wrongly recorded medical interviews with both physical and mental health VA employees. I have had horrible Caseworker management in VOKE REHAB and VASH. I have not been paid appropriately

  97. Katherine Eagan May 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

    This is so disgraceful. I think whenever there is wrongdoing, that an investigation should come from an outside agency/party/company not the government so there are no more cover ups!

  98. thomas m gomez May 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    i dont blame you sir! its just to big to control now. you cant be every place at the same time.lets get all the facts and try to resolve the problems. your still the best va.i never had to wait for care…a vet told me they are doing the same thing with old claims. people should not say that unless they can prove it! isnt one black eye enough? dont kick the va when they are down! you have proof they are doing something wrong. bring it out. if you dont have proof.. wait your turn soldier!

  99. John Fisher May 23, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I am a disabled veteran and have used the Grand Junction and Montrose Colorado care centers! The care providers are excellent. I hope that all concerns about us vets are not just a political issues as both parties have been aware of problems. It is important that funding issues be addressed. Veterans benefits should be supported by both the Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party representatives. The DAV, VFW and American Legion should present a combined economic front for us vets! God bless the veterans!

  100. Gregory DeGroat May 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

    About 4 months ago I was informed by the Dayton, Ohio VA that being an Air Force veteran, I was entitled to health care benefits after about two years of retirement from my subsequent private sector job. I received paperwork (which I immediately filled out and mailed back) to start the benefits but never heard from them again, even after my several follow up calls. I need more information. I don’t know if they received the paper work I mailed back to them, if I was approved, or anything at all. Just. Nothing. I guess I’ll have to either go to the hospital personally and demand to see someone in administration, or complain to my congressman. Ridiculous.

    • James Raygor May 24, 2014 at 6:39 am

      They have a backlog for new patients but if you have an urgent care need in the meantime you can just go in to the ER and you will receive immediate care.

  101. Kayla Renna May 23, 2014 at 10:34 am

    The care at Castle Point in New York is horrific. My daughter’s father was told by a doctor based of a urinalysis point blank that he probably has bladder cancer- without having any other testing done. He then questioned the doctor if it could possibly be kidney stones he was experiencing and the doctor scoffed at him and said he would have been doubled over if that was the case. Naturally he had to wait three weeks to get into a urologist and guess what it was? Kidney stones!
    He also frequently has issues with the counselors/psychologists there. When they talk to him they barely listen and don’t even look at him while having conversation. And those are only the most recents issues.
    Please do a thorough investigation of Castle Point.

  102. Marty Sable May 23, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Thank You for your service General. That being said, is it that you are too insulated at the top to hear the concerns of the Veterans in your charge? This was going on for years, yet nothing not even a rumor was heard at your level? Action is what the Veterans want. Something that shows you know the depth of the issue. Knowing what it is like in the trenches of care and administering Veterans and their care would be a good start. Get rid of the negative people in the VA, all of them, they have no place pretending to care for Veterans. No one in a Leadership role within the VA should NOT be a Veteran (less Doctors and nurses).

  103. Tom Young May 23, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I am a disabled vet that goes to the Richmond Virginia VA hospital. Last week, I had an acute attack of pain to my right leg that would not allow me to walk or get comfortable in any way. I had seen a degrade in my leg over the previous 2 months and was under the care from the VA when this attack happened. I initially went to the clinic in March where I was issued medication to manage the pain and told to use a cane. I was also scheduled for an MRI to check the status of my back injuries that have driven most of my issues. This was scheduled for June 5th. There is a hefty delay due to the volume of people that are being seen at the facility. When the acute event happened, I called and they told me to come to the emergency department for immediate care. I did.
    It was very busy and efforts were made to see everyone, but there was just so many vets there to be seen, delays were inevitable. I waited for just over 3 hours to be seen. When I did they immediately addressed the pain by providing better medication. They also worked to get x-rays of various joints in my leg and worked to get me into the MRI immediately. Within a couple of hours of being seen by the doctor, I had the MRI and the x-rays and had a consult with the neuro-surgeons for my back. They ordered CT scans and more x-rays which I got within the next hour or so. At that point, they decided to admit me for controlling the pain and to further diagnose the problem. Due to the volume, I waited 4 hours to get into a room. So, some 12 hours after arriving, I was sent to my room for the night.
    The following day, the doctors reviewed results and pulled other areas of expertise into the case as the test did not reveal any issue that could be repaired by surgery. By midday, it was determined that the compensation to my walking due to the pain and issues in my back caused muscular problems in my leg. I have been now signed up for therapy to help overcome these issues that commences in June.
    All in all, even with the delays, I am satisfied with the service I received at the Richmond facility. The volume of patients there was unbelievable and they did their best to take care of everyone with a smile and concern for my well being. All they really need is more funding and doctors to take care of folks.

    Thank you to those that have taken care of me. I greatly appreciate it.

  104. Jerald Moller May 23, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Your the head it your job to see that everything is right and if not you are to blame. All heads should return bonuses and then be fired from the top on down. Starting with you. You don’t have VA checking on VA you won’t find anything other then what has been found.

  105. James G May 23, 2014 at 9:20 am

    My daughter started the claims/benefits process back in Oct 2010, again back in May 2012. She is a victim of MST and TBI, she has a hole in her heart and bad knees/ankles/and hips from the airborne shuffle. Her file is in the Seattle VA in a file cabinet somewhere. Can she get appointments at the women’s clinic and see a shrink for being raped in the military, which nothing was ever done and she was told shouldn’t be so cute. She need the hole in heart to be closed with an umbrella, can she get an appointment NO!your claim is still in the works.

    My Reno VA constantly cancels appointments and does not tell the vet till we are standing at the window for our appointment. It took four months to get an appointment to get assigned a PCM whom is a total ass and here just for the check. Will take responsibility for nothing I was told I could get an appointment for pain clinic since he will not put his name on pain meds, he never made my appointment for CPAP, will not renew my PTSD medication, all this since Nov 2013, it took a total 7 months to get my bite guard for night time grinding, two canceled appointments because of new equipment training that I was never notified of which I got rescheduled way down the road instead of when they cancelled it.
    OH yea check into the the patient advocate at the Reno VA because I have filed two complaints and never received any communication back nor do they ever answer the door when you travel 1 1/2 hrs to try and get something fixed.
    All the actual workers/nurses/staff minus my PCM actually care and work hard for us, its the admin and higher ups that screw the system

  106. Leland Alger/PFC May 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I am a 30 year old veteran that was in the army and can’t get a 100% disabled price get my grade changed to an honorable. I’m trying to go to school to Bette my life and can’t get no help because of try his I have back injury and PTSD and can’t even get help nore rated for it. I’m asking for someone’s help somewhere on something please. You can E-mail. Me ast lralger-jr@hotmail.com. If you can help me this would be great I’ve been trying for years and nothing, thank you for listening.

  107. ERROL R. BRUMM May 23, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Sir I thank you for your service and as a combat Veteran meaning I was in combat with the 11 Armored Cavalry 1967/1968. I served a total of 26 years and 4 months before retiring. Many tragedies took place immediately there after including the death of a ww2 Veteran my Dad while at Phoenix VA. Transfusion with AIDS Tainted Blood. Things happen and in them days we did not have good handle on Blood testing for Aids.
    I am disappointed with the care of the VA at Louisville Ky and the Clinics attached including the Ireland Hospital VA Clinic at Ft Knox, the Clarkson Clinic at Clarkson Ky.
    My Agent Orange exam was a sham at best. Other examinations done at the facility were in the most part of the same poor quality. My first CP done in 2005 was a good examination however nothing was done with the findings. My Medical records and OMPF are missing from 1961 to 1974. The VA does nothing but place this on my back.
    My records situation is such a mess my State Appointed Service Officer Retired after he produced a document telling me why my appeal was closed 01/26/2011. I had written and used IRIS numerous times asking why and for documentation. He prior to retiring sent me a copy of a claims form dtd 01/03/2011. A4138 typed which I have my copy of. On the bottom of the copy he e-mailed me was a statement withdrawing any and all appeals. Hand written . NO SIR not my hand writing. Since my VA claims situation has dissolved and my psychologist civilian type since the Nurse Practitioners made my mental care a medication nightmare. I really need to set down at my home and show the years of abuse and incompetency to a individual experienced. If I do not overwhelm them with gross negligence I show them It would be absolutely amazing.
    Sir you have a big job. Remember as I told your boss.”Workers do well only those things the boss checks”. Good Luck and God Bless. 1SGT. ERROL R. BRUMM USA RET

  108. Michael Talley May 23, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I have been fighting YOUR administration for the past 4 years for disability claims that are constantly denied. I have submitted Army medical records to my VA Dr for Nexus letters and the records mysteriously disappear. I have had 3 claims denied over 4 years because my VA Dr. has to complete a Nexus letter. (How can they objectively do this when they work for the VA?). I have recently hired my OWN private Dr. and paid out of pocket for a history/physical exam and respiratory examination in order to submit my claim again. I am sure it will take the average 1 1/2 to 3 years to be approved (excuse me, DENIED) again, even though there are multiple pages of documents supporting the claim, including my out of pocket exam. I truly hope that this one is approved because I live below the poverty level and do not trust the VA.

  109. John Buono May 23, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Please have the “independent group” contact me regarding 3 years of mistreatment at the Birmingham VA. Denying care for necessary back surgery resulting in 100 lb weight gain and other health issues.

  110. Jerry Hoover May 23, 2014 at 6:50 am

    It is an easy fix. I’ve seen it done in large organizations and it is effective. Change the pay and benefits structure of those working and providing care at Veterans Administration Hospitals, Administration Offices, Regional Offices, and contractors. Excellent reviews by “VETERAN PATIENTS AND BENEFICIARIES” response on performance surveys, earns a bonus. Good reviews by “VETERAN PATIENTS AND BENEFICIARIES” response on performance surveys” earns the right to keep ones job. Poor reviews by “VETERAN PATIENTS AND BENEFICIARIES” response on performance surveys, generates a reprimand and deduction in pay. Unsatisfactory reviews by “VETERAN PATIENTS AND BENEFICIARIES” response on performance surveys, cause immediate termination with no chance to return working for any government entity. I see no self policing practices to insure our veterans are receiving proper quality care.

  111. Chad May 23, 2014 at 4:48 am

    You claimed all the good. When will you take responsibility for the bad? These incidents occured on your watch. They are your responsibility. You should accept that and resign. Veterans are suffering because of the inaction from the top. You are a retired 4 Star who has served our nation through many conflicts. As a leader, do the right thing. Fire those responsible and then resign as these failures are yours. Don’t be like the rest of Mr Obama’s cabinet who continue to screw things up and try to hold on to what little power they have.

  112. James J Bentley Jr May 23, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Sir, You did not start this, however your time in your position makes you and your current staff the most knowledgeable of the current system. The persons not reporting all of the persons needing a service impeded efforts to get the assets needed to accomplish the mission. I found in service and after too many times middle managers tried to look good did not report the true situation at the time and in the short term it looked good it caused much grief 1 to 2 years later.

    I sincerely hope Disability Compensation Claims have not been subjected to under reporting.
    The reports I have reviewed are those pertaining to compensation. They really look impressive and reflect progress.

  113. Harry McNally May 23, 2014 at 1:09 am

    There is nothing in this message that says what you will do when these allegations are proven to be true, which I have no doubt they will be.

    I was in trouble and needed help in 2010. I reached out to the VA and the VA ignored me for months. I tried time and time again to get help and never received a response. At the VA Medical Center in Memphis, TN, is an individual named Arthur Johnson in the OIF/OEF veterans clinic. Ask him what became of the voicemails and e-mails I left him asking him for help.

    I admit that I did not try to contact the patient advocate, but that’s only because the person I was having the problem with WAS the patient advocate. And he still is.

    And I have no doubt my story is one of many. I’m still alive to tell mine and I pray that it’s the same for the others. But I suspect it isn’t.

    Please do the honorable thing, Mr. Secretary. Admit that there are problems with the system, tell us how you plan on addressing them, set those plans in motion. And then admit responsibility for the failures that occurred during your time as Secretary and resign.

    Or you can just do what you did last time and just give us all a new hat.

  114. Dwayne Matte May 23, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Wow, toot our own horn why don’t you!!! They can investigate all they want, they won’t find 1/4 of the problems veterans deal with on a day by day basis with dealing with these medical centers. Admin personnel with attitudes of “I can’t get fired so I’ll do anything I want except the job I’m being paid for”, or the doctors who are withholding necessary meds and blaming it on the pharmacy/pharmacist. Or how when a vet is sent to a civilian doctor or hospital or for a service outside the VA Medical system, it takes the VA over a year and a half to pay the bill, and the company that provided the service is harassing the veteran for payment. The VA Medical service provides good service when you can get it, but a lot of it has to do with the personnel that works there…I know, I’ve experienced horrible, horrible service here in south Texas, as recently as yesterday!!!!!!!

    • Richard Robinson May 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      The majority of the administrative service at the West Palm Beach VAMC is the same. I saw a woman behind the desk yelling a Korean War vet the other day and telling him he needs to go to the soup kitchen if he wants handouts and that veterans always want something for nothing. I was floored when she said this and I went off on her for it. She was naturally a civilian and a non-veteran. The Korean War vet had just simply asked “Is this the desk where I sign up for travel pay?”.

  115. Charles Petee May 22, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I’ve had problems with VA medical care, and I’ve tried to contend with them, but there’s nothing the VA has to be proud of on account of VA services I’ve received, or not received… If you ever want to talk to me, I’d be happy to enlighten you sir! Just make sure you have a lot of time available, because I have very long list of discrepancies to potentially discuss… Not that I’m holding my breath you will ever hear them, let alone do anything about them, but I’d be happy to learn I’m wrong about that assumption. Time will tell…

  116. Matthew Ota May 22, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I am a resident of the Domiciliary at the West Los Angeles VA Facility. I am satisfied with the services that the VA has provided for me in my time of homelessness.

  117. james handy May 22, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I wrote you a letter a year ago about my disability benefits I have been waiting 46 months for. When can I expect a response?

  118. David Lucier May 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I had the good fortune of meeting with Mr. Rob Nabors and Acting Director Steve Young today at the Phoenix VA.

    My meesage was clear and they acknowledged as much: 1) a complete investigation of all the facts and allegations, 2) determine and define the problem(s), 3) ensure transparency and accountability, 4) act in a nonpartisan manner, 5) make the resources available to meet the demand of services needed by our nation’s warriors.

    Mr. Nabors took my business card and indicated he would take my message to the President.

  119. Liisa May 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I recently started to see the pain clinic for my chronic pain. The pain injections went great and my doctor provided acc u puncture for my back spasms. I was told I can get acupuncture every 2 weeks. The earliest I am able to get in was 1.5 month later! I made that appointment to get into the system but I also called back to inquire about fee basis acupuncture. I left a lengthy voicemail that stated to call me back about going to civilians o provide the acupuncture, but was Never called back. I am a RN and am disgusted with this. Knowing that the acupuncture helped and trying to avoid having to take pain medications I would think I would be important enough to be called back. I also suffer with mental illness where I have a very difficult time asking for help…I am having a hard time accepting that the VA cares about me rather than being B4#3#. Its as if I was teased with the acupuncture realizing I can be pain free but to find out there are only so many appointments few and far between. The day I left pain clinic I cried because it wAs the first time I had been pain free in years.

    • Liisa May 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Additional info: I believe patients rights are being covered up. We have the right to Timely care. I waited 8 months just to get my neck injections. I understand the va is under staffed, but I believe I should have been given the option to go get it done sooner using fee basis. I believe we are Not given options to get our care sooner. If it was mentioned I would have taken the opportunity to go receive injections sooner, but I figure my doctor knows best and would not make me wait. I am starting to question if waiting this long was right. Living with chronic pain raised my eyebrow. Telling myself, ” why should I suffer for months with pain having to wait for an appointment in the far future” . This isn’t the only case with a wait time, but the most recent. If you can’t run a business adequately do something about it. Also on a positive note the care is excellent. Quality A+ Wait time D

  120. DON BROXTON May 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Sounds like bull to me. I waited a year to receive VA medical benefits. I happened to meet someone who worked there and they accompanied me to the VA Hospital in Charleston.S.C. I was in there computer as applying a year earlier. They walked me right thru the red tape and I was issued a VA medical card. But no explanation was ever given as to why it took so long and then only when I had a friend inside the VA to make it happen. I have nothing but praises for the medical treatment and the medical staff of the VA but I do not trust the government who controls the processing. I hope the processing does improve but Obama is full of bull and I do not take his words seriously or Mr Shinseki .

  121. Shannon Johnson May 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    What will be done for the veterans who waited a long time here in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area that requested an appointment and got one almost a year later, but while waiting for their appointment we had an emergency and had to call 911? The bill is enormous considering the person had to stay in the hospital do to complications? Will there be help with the cost? Also while he waited, was sent an appointment to the wrong place and showed up, but was told he had to wait for another appointment due to the VA giving him the wrong info and then he had to wait several more months to get another appointment, but it was not his fault. When he asked about the bill and if he could get some help, he was told no they will not help. Why couldn’t they help? He waited a very long time for something he deserves and put his life on the line for our freedom. So now the little income he does have is threatened with garnishment due to the enormous hospital bill :( what should he do, and can anything be done, or is there any help he can get with this bill? Sincerely Shannon

  122. David May 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    After the treatment I have received at the VA with an average of 14 months wait to see the heart doctor, as well as the eye doctor, the urologist, and the hearing doctor, I truly hope this liar as well as the other top brass responsible are thrown in prison. The general attitude at the VA is uncaring. Just like our President!

  123. Kynthia Alice Rosgeal May 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Dear Secretary

    I am a disabled veteran, I have received both admirable, and questionable care throughout the many different VAs I have been at.

    My fear is this turns In to a witch hunt for political gain. This is certainly the last thing we need. We need an honest evaluation, sincere third party investigations of allegations of abuse, and a system whereby a veteran can make complaints with out going through an employee that is paid by the VA for such a job. The term “conflict of interest” applies here.

    I have been a veteran since 1976, when the VA was where yo went when it was time to die. I have seen marvelous improvements over the years, I have seen setbacks. But, because of the VA and it’s employees, I always have hope that any oversight can be handled when someone is willing to allow the light of day to shine upon it.

    Sir, you still have my respect and support.