Veterans Call for Resignation of VA Secretary

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By Matthew Searcy

WSIL -- Local veterans are speaking out against the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki. His department is accused of deadly delays in health care.       

The American Legion and several US Senators are calling for his resignation amid claims that veterans died while waiting for medical treatment at a Phoenix VA hospital.    
 
A retired doctor at the VA clinic claims the hospital had a secret wait list for patients. He says the list caused long delays in service for dozens of veterans who eventually died while waiting for care.
 
"We still have problems in this system that manifest themselves with veterans dying again," said American Legion member and 28-year army veteran Bill Slider. "It's inexcusable." 
 
The Phoenix hospital faces allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delays in care.  
     
Slider says if the claims are true, veterans should demand a new VA secretary, "Leaders in the military understand that we are responsible for what our unit does or fails to do. The Veterans Administration is a unit for General Shinseki. It looks like his unit has got some problems." 
 
But not everyone agrees.  
 
"Scapegoating General Shinseki doesn't do a thing to improve the quality of the VA healthcare," said U.S. Rep (D) Bill Enyart.  
 
The 30 year veteran has seen this issue before. In 2007, oversights at the Marion VA led to a string of deaths attributed to poor care two of which resulted in high-priced malpractice settlements. 
 
He admits the new claims in Phoenix are equally disappointing, "If in fact if it is true I think it's outrageous."
 
However, he doesn't believe Shinseki's resignation would help solve the issue.  
    
"Let's get to the bottom of it and let's move forward," said Enyart. "We don't need to be in a blame game. What we need is taking care of veterans the way they need to be taken care of." 
 
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