Department of Veterans Affairs

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VA Accused of Retaliating Against Whistleblowers

Meanwhile, Obama's pick for health undersecretary backs out

(Newser) - As if the cloud over the Department of Veterans Affairs wasn't dark enough, the Office of Special Counsel has now launched an investigation into allegations that it retaliated against 37 whistleblowers—including some that tried to bring the waiting list scandal to light, the Washington Post reports. Employees in... More »

Obama: Shinseki Is Out at VA

Says embattled department chief offered his resignation

(Newser) - Eric Shinseki is out as leader of the VA. President Obama today said he accepted the Cabinet secretary's resignation "with regret" in the wake of the scandal over shoddy medical care for the nation's veterans, reports CNN . Obama said Shinseki told him he didn't want to... More »

Shinseki: VA Has 'Systemic' Problems

He moves to fire senior leaders of Phoenix hospital

(Newser) - Eric Shinseki has begun the process to fire the senior leaders of the infamous Phoenix VA medical center, he announced today, as he apologized for his department's lapses. When the crisis broke, Shinseki said he believed the problem was isolated. "I no longer believe that. It is systemic,... More »

VA Boss Writes Op-Ed Amidst Howls for His Head

Democrats join in bashing Shinseki

(Newser) - The calls for Eric Shinseki to resign are getting deafening, but the Veterans Affairs secretary doesn't sound like a man on the edge in an op-ed posted this morning at USA Today . Shinseki writes that yesterday's revelations "are reprehensible to me and to this department, and we... More »

VA Report: 1.7K Vets Left Off Hospital Waiting List

McCain calls for Shinseki ouster following damning report

(Newser) - At least 1,700 veterans awaiting treatment from the Department of Veteran Affairs' now-infamous Phoenix medical center were kept off of any official waiting list, putting them "at risk of being forgotten or lost," according to a damning initial report from the department's inspector general. What's... More »

Obama: 'I Will Not Tolerate' VA Abuse

Urges patience despite calls for 'swift reckoning'

(Newser) - President Obama's silence on the reported VA hospital scandal is over. Speaking today, he said he "will not stand for" alleged misconduct, including "cooking the books" to hide delays in care, some of which allegedly led to patient deaths. "If these allegations prove to be true,... More »

Obama's Mad About VA Scandal? Yeah, Right

This controversy isn't GOP-concocted: Ron Christie and Eugene Robinson

(Newser) - Columnists on both the right and left are fuming about reports of secret Veterans Affairs hospital delays said to have resulted in 40 deaths. Both Ron Christie and Eugene Robinson note that while issues like Benghazi and IRS targeting may have been "witch hunts," this is a genuine... More »

Adviser: Obama 'Madder Than Hell' Over VA Scandal

Denis McDonough says he's got the scars to prove it

(Newser) - White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough today summarized the commander-in-chief's feelings on the VA scandal pretty pointedly: "The president is madder than hell, and I’ve got the scars to prove it, given the briefings I’ve given the president. Nobody is more outraged about this problem,... More »

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal

Robert Petzel quits, though he was scheduled to leave this year anyway

(Newser) - The budding scandal at Veterans Affairs over the medical care that vets receive seems to have resulted in its first resignation. Robert Petzel, who was the department's top official in charge of health care, submitted his resignation to VA chief Eric Shinseki, reports Reuters . Shinseki not only accepted it,... More »

House Subpoenas VA Chief, Alleged 'Cover-Up' Emails

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki subpoenaed, too

(Newser) - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has remained defiant amid calls for his resignation in the wake of a report on a "secret waiting list" and veterans dying over delays at some of its hospitals, particularly one in Phoenix . But as the fever pitch grows, the House Veterans Affairs Committee... More »

Suspect Arrested After Shooting at Ohio VA Center

At least one person injured

(Newser) - A shooter has reportedly been arrested at a Veterans Administration hospital in Dayton, Ohio, after shooting at least one person. One VA worker told reporters that a little after noon a man pulled out a gun in the lobby "and everyone started running," according to WLWT 5 . On... More »

Veterans Die Waiting on 'Secret VA List': Ex-Doctor

Phoenix VA hospital allegedly keeps hundreds of veterans waiting

(Newser) - The Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, has secretly kept around 1,500 sick veterans waiting for health care—and at least 40 of them died waiting, CNN reports. Former Phoenix VA doctor Sam Foote says managers there found a way around the rule that VA hospitals should see patients... More »

VA Hospital Delays Are Killing Veterans

Report obtained by CNN shows at least 19 dead due to lengthy waits

(Newser) - Some pretty grim news courtesy of a Veterans Affairs internal report on patients diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and 2011 that CNN obtained: Delays at VA hospitals are killing veterans. At least 19 have died because of delays in medical screenings; they're part of a group of 82 vets... More »

Why the USDA Hastily Spent $144K on Toner Cartridges

Government agencies have to 'use it or lose it' by tomorrow

(Newser) - Congress is still squabbling over next year's federal budget, but government agencies only have until tomorrow to spend as much of this year's budget as possible before that money disappears. And so they are. Yep, it's "use it or lose it" season in DC, reports the... More »

Minneapolis Mayor to Gay Chicagoans: We'll Marry You

Meanwhile, the VA changes tune on benefits, and Texas GOP fights anti-discrimination law

(Newser) - Gay marriage still isn't legal in Illinois, and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak is making a boldfaced attempt to take advantage of that. Rybak is headed to Chicago today to announce a new ad campaign urging gay Windy City residents to cross the border and get hitched. Rybak will hold... More »

Workload at Costly VA Call Centers: 2 Calls a Day

...so they decided to go 24/7

(Newser) - The Veterans Affairs Department has spent millions on employment call centers so overstaffed that workers only handle a call or two per day, inspectors have discovered. The two centers—operated by a private contractor—handled an average of 2.4 calls per operator daily between December 2011 and December 2012,... More »

85K Vets Treated for Sex Abuse in 2012

PTSD, depression among common long-term effects

(Newser) - An AP report reveals the stunning scope of the sexual assault crisis rocking the military: Last year, more than 85,000 veterans received treatment for sex abuse, while 4,000 applied for disability benefits; 40% of those treated were men. The cases run as far back as the Vietnam War,... More »

US Is Still Paying for Civil War

Other wars cost $40B a year in compensation: report

(Newser) - It's been 148 years, and the US is still paying relatives of Civil War veterans every month. Two surviving children of veterans receive $876 annually, and while that may amount to a paltry sum, the AP's analysis of the continuing costs of US wars turns up much heftier... More »

VA Fudges Vets' Health Data to Duck Costs

Former staffer says VA seeks to avoid expensive care

(Newser) - The Department of Veterans Affairs keeps some health data quiet to avoid the financial burden of expensive care, according to a former VA staffer set to testify today before a House subcommittee. If "studies produce results that do not support the office of public health's unwritten policy, they... More »

Same-Sex Couple Set for National Cemetery Burial

First-time event follows VA waiver

(Newser) - For the first time, a veteran's same-sex partner is due for burial in a national cemetery. Nancy Lynchild, who died in December, will be buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon; her partner, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Linda Campbell, will someday have her ashes buried alongside Lynchild's.... More »

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