President Obama accepted VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation Friday after he said he viewed a damning audit that showed the lethal practice of waitlisting ill veterans was occurring beyond Phoenix.
But the veterans directly affected by the scandal have yet to see these initial audits that sent the White House into damage-control mode.
This morning, a Senate Democrat will call on the administration to immediately release the 216 site-specific nationwide audits detailing widespread falsification of waiting list records and delays in treatment at VA health centers.
“This information—the basis of the report released to the president on Friday—has been compiled and analyzed, and it must be made available to the public immediately,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who will make the request to Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloane Gibson in a speech in front of the Hartford State Armory.
“The American public, most especially our nation’s veterans, deserve and need to see these site-specific details immediately. They have a right to know now what problems have been found, who is responsible, and what will be done to remedy these serious issues,” Blumenthal said. “Non-disclosure does a disservice to all veterans. Full-transparency is the best way to begin a new era of leadership at the VA.”
The audits reportedly blame a lack of medical providers for making the goal of seeing a veteran within 14 days “simply unattainable,” driving VA staff to falsifying records, creating secret waiting lists and delaying treatment to veterans without reporting the waits.
Obama said in the press briefing room Friday that he had just been presented with the department’s initial review of VA facilities nationwide.
“And what they’ve found is that the misconduct has not been limited to a few VA facilities, but many across the country. That’s totally unacceptable,” Obama said. “Our veterans deserve the best. They’ve earned it. Last week, I said that if we found misconduct, it would be punished. And I meant it.”