WASHINGTON, D.C. – Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testified before the Senate VA Committee this morning on the serious questions raised regarding veterans’ healthcare and reports of cover-ups at a number of VA facilities related to lengthy wait-times for treatment. Congressman Mike Michaud (D-ME), Ranking Member on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement:
“I first want to thank Secretary Shinseki for testifying before the Senate VA Committee today as we work to address the serious shortcomings in veterans’ care that are being reported. Second, it is clear to me and many others that now is the time for the Secretary to provide leadership. The allegations raised point to the possibility of systemic problems regarding VA healthcare, problems that require direct, hands-on leadership from the Secretary. I hope that he will forcefully follow-through on several key points from his testimony today – particularly in urging for a swift conclusion to the Inspector General’s investigation, and taking appropriate action to ensure these deplorable shortcomings are resolved once and for all.
“I will be looking forward to the initial results from the system-wide audit of the appointment scheduling process at the VA, a step urged by my colleague Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. The Secretary indicated he expects the results will be forthcoming in June. This will give us the first real indication, other than media reports, of how widespread these problems may be. Our veterans deserve the highest-quality care, and it’s going to take resolve and increased leadership from within the VA to ensure they receive it.”