Get PJ Media on your Apple

VA Official Who Takes the Fall Was Already Set to Retire This Year

"If what has been alleged is true, that would be an outrage," Carney says while suggesting scandal confined to Phoenix.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 16, 2014 - 2:34 pm
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

WASHINGTON — Today’s resignation of the Veterans Affairs undersecretary for health may have been timed to look like a fall guy was anointed after Robert Petzel and his department faced criticism at a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.

But the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee called shenanigans: Petzel was already due to retire this year.

Appearing alongside VA Secretary Eric Shineski at Thursday’s hearing, neither official would commit to firing those responsible for maintaining secret waiting lists that allegedly kept veterans from seeing doctors while giving an outward appearance on paper of acceptable wait times.

“I can’t give you an example specifically, but if someone were found to be manipulating inappropriately the scheduling system, they would be disciplined,” Petzel said.

When Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) asked if they would lose their job, Petzel replied, “I don’t know whether that’s the appropriate level of punishment or not.”

“Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Shinseki said in a statement today. “As we know from the Veteran community, most Veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.”

“I am committed to strengthening Veterans’ trust and confidence in their VA healthcare system,” he added. “I thank Dr. Petzel for his four decades of service to Veterans.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement saying that “the President supports Secretary Shinseki’s decision.”

“As the President has said, America has a sacred trust with the men and women who have served our country in uniform and he is committed to doing all we can to ensure our veterans have access to timely, quality health care,” Carney said. “…The President and Secretary Shinseki take the allegations around misconduct very seriously, and Secretary Shinseki has committed to taking appropriate actions based on the findings of the independent VA Office of Inspector General investigation. Both the President and the Secretary thank Dr. Petzel for his many years of service to veterans.”

But a Sept. 20, 2013, press release on the VA website said a commission was being convened as required by law to look for replacements to be recommended to President Obama — because Petzel “will retire in 2014 as planned, following a four-year tenure as Under Secretary for Health.”

“I am grateful for Dr. Petzel’s distinguished service to Veterans spanning four decades, and for his leadership in transforming VHA’s health care delivery system to better care for Veterans,” Shinseki said in that statement. “Dr. Petzel has assured me that he will continue to serve in his position until the Senate confirms a new Under Secretary for Health, in order to ensure a smooth transition.”

“I have appreciated the privilege to serve Veterans by developing a healthcare system that reaches beyond simple treatment of diseases to a true partnership with Veterans,” Petzel said then. “VA will continue to partner with Veteran patients throughout their lives in order to improve their health and well-being.”

House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) issued a statement calling Petzel’s “resignation” today “the pinnacle of disingenuous political doublespeak.”

“Petzel was already scheduled to retire in 2014 and President Obama has already announced his intention to nominate Petzel’s replacement, so characterizing this as a ‘resignation’ just doesn’t pass the smell test,” Miller said. “Desperate to get ahead of a delays in care crisis that is growing by the day, yet apparently unwilling to take substantive actions to hold any of its leaders accountable for negligence that harms veterans, VA has resorted to what it does best: splitting semantic hairs to create the illusion of accountability and progress.”

“After yesterday’s out-of-touch performance from Sec. Shinseki, I was disappointed. Today, I am even more disillusioned.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), among the lawmakers who has called on Shinseki to resign, said the news about Petzel was “not a surprise” given his earlier retirement announcement but “evidence of the dysfunction at the VA.”

“It is important to note that Undersecretary Petzel was the only VA witness at the Senate VA Committee hearing who admitted knowledge of IG reports – he should not shoulder the blame for VA’s failures,” Moran said. “Rather than the VA focusing on damage control, action should be taken immediately to change the bureaucratic culture of mediocrity at the VA and ensure the highest quality and most timely care for our nation’s heroes.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
We're talking about negligent homicide, conspiracy to commit, accessory after the fact, obstruction...

Fire them? Allow them to retire? YGBFKM. If you or I did the same thing, we'd be sitting in jail waiting for a court date.

Think this is a left vs right issue? Think again. This sort of thing, and worse, has been going on for decades. Pick a Congress. Pick an administration. They're all guilty.

If we're going to keep the Veteran's Administration, start sending people to prison, firing others, and then, keep doing it until you find people who know what they're doing.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated

Work with Google here and earn more than 6000 Dollars per month. need serious interested person. any one can do it here's .......

http://7.ly/jqjv

.....................
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rest assured that Petzel is fully vested and will not suffer the loss of one dollar from his pension.

But his resignation moves the VA scandal into the "old news, already handled" category.

Any further mention of it by Republicans would just be for partisan gain. The MSM will certainly punish any reporter unwise enough to bring it up at a WH Press conference.

"VA Scandal" will be a Final Jeopardy stumper as early as next year.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The really sad part of this story is this individual presided over the Legionnaire Disease killing American Veterans in several locations across the USA...and he was kept on, promoted and reached the pinnacle of incompetence. Bless the "Peter Principle." Seems as if, this is one criteria for all honchos in the VA Administration to be propelled upwards and out with fabulous retirement agreements, packages and "golden parachutes!" Whatever happened to fiduciary responsibility? It's a bylaw, written for every public servant to adhere to and obey, besides their stated job outlines and responsibilities. And where was Congressional Oversight as well as any Senate participation to bar this incompetent individual to even be considered for hire or even promotion, let alone responsible for Veterans lives and well being? HUH? This man, like Gosnell, has a lot of blood on his hands...should be indicted, tried and executed for his total disregard of fellow American VETERAN lives he was responsible for. God Bless America. Pray. Amen. Let's hope, We The Elite People of culture of Corruption in ALL of Washington DC can right this travesty and serious wrong. Join a Tea Party, urgently. Register to vote these mid-terms and VOTE. Amen. Pray, God Bless America.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another Fake firing Head fake from the CYA transparency in name only administration.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am sorry, I hit report one line too far down. I don't see a way to undo it. Katherine
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some of these VA workers are contractor employees. All the VA has to do is notify the contract PM and have them removed for cause, or for no cause at all. That's how it works.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having worked alongside a group of federal government workers some time ago I can state that most are hard working people. But there were a few who merely showed up, put in their time and left at the end of the workday having accomplished...nothing. My favorite was the GS-14 who sat in his (larger) cubicle and read the paper until lunchtime, after which he was not seen again that day.

A former colleague tried to report a fellow federal employee for running a home sales business from his (government issue) desk. The response from the group supervisor? "Lets not make any waves here, OK?"
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
“As we know from the Veteran community, most Veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.”

Like most political polling questions, I'd go check their "satisfaction surveys".

Our school districts used to make the same claims - just yes and no choices to questions that you really couldn't disagree with and no opportunity to point out where you thought performance was weak.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anyone else see a pattern.... Who's taking bets he retires with his retirement?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
We're talking about negligent homicide, conspiracy to commit, accessory after the fact, obstruction...

Fire them? Allow them to retire? YGBFKM. If you or I did the same thing, we'd be sitting in jail waiting for a court date.

Think this is a left vs right issue? Think again. This sort of thing, and worse, has been going on for decades. Pick a Congress. Pick an administration. They're all guilty.

If we're going to keep the Veteran's Administration, start sending people to prison, firing others, and then, keep doing it until you find people who know what they're doing.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The dingo ate my comment. Now it's back. Weird.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All

One Trackback to “VA Official Who Takes the Fall Was Already Set to Retire This Year”