News / USA

American Veterans: Culture Change Needed to Fix Broken Health Care System

American Veterans: Culture Change Needed to Fix Broken Health Care Systemi
X
Brian Padden
May 21, 2014 11:23 PM
As Americans commemorate Memorial Day to honor the country's fallen soldiers, a scandal is unfolding that highlights the federal government’s failure to properly care for veterans. As VOA’s Brian Padden reports, fraud and neglect at the Veterans Administration reportedly have forced thousands of veterans to wait months to see a doctor and reportedly even caused some to die because of a lack of treatment.
Brian Padden
As Americans commemorate Memorial Day to honor the country's fallen soldiers, a scandal is unfolding that highlights the federal government’s failure to properly care for veterans. Fraud and neglect at the Veterans Administration reportedly have forced thousands of veterans to wait months to see a doctor and reportedly even caused some to die because of a lack of treatment.

In response to a firestorm of criticism over reports of neglect at veterans hospitals that have even caused preventable deaths, President Barack Obama says he will hold accountable officials involved in any misconduct.  

“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful and I will not tolerate it, period,” said Obama.

Investigation proceeds

Twenty-six veterans facilities are under investigation, including a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for treatment. The hospital there is reported to have kept a secret waiting list to hide months-long delays to get care.  

The Veterans Health Administration treats nearly 9 million veterans at 1,700 facilities around the country.  

The system has been overloaded by a growing number of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking treatment, and new expanded coverage for Vietnam vets and for Post-traumatic stress disorder.  

But the VA’s critics say reports of staff falsifying records to cover up treatment delays are indicative of a system that is both broken and criminal.

Louis Celli, Legislative Director for the American Legion, said the veterans group wants the president to immediately fire Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, who is a disabled veteran, for failing to change the agency’s dysfunctional culture.  
 
“We know that the Department of Veteran Affairs has had a long systemic problem and needed a culture change, and we thought Shinseki was the man to come in and do that, and we’ve since lost our faith in that.”

Congressional oversight

Congress is working on legislation to make it easier to fire poorly performing managers at the VA.

Senator John McCain, a wounded war veteran himself, said veterans deserve better. “We must be worthy of the sacrifices that are made on our behalf. How we care for those who risked everything for us is the most important test of a nation’s character. Today, we are failing that test.”

Pending an investigation, the White House is standing behind the embattled VA secretary for now. Obama has said he wants to focus on making systemic change.

“So today I want every veteran to know we are going to fix whatever is wrong, and so long as I have the privilege of serving as commander-in-chief I am going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that your families deserve,” said the president.

On Memorial Day, America commemorates the soldiers who fought and died for their country. But this year many also will be talking about the country’s obligation to care for the veterans who fought and survived.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid