Sen. Isakson Calls for Wider Look at Veteran Deaths

May 8, 2014

Three U.S. Senators and the American Legion are calling for U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. The move comes after allegations that 40 patients may have died due to care delays at a Phoenix Veterans Hospital and problems at a several facilities throughout the nation, including Colorado and Georgia. Meanwhile, Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson is taking a wait and see approach.

Senator Isakson says he wants to see the findings of an Inspector General’s report ordered on allegations raised in Phoenix before deciding whether he will demand Shinseki resign. Isakson also says he’s pushing for a more expansive report.

Credit U.S. Senate

“It needs to be a comprehensive evaluation across the VA healthcare system, not just the Phoenix case or the Colorado case... I’m supporting the expediting of that case report, so we get answers and facts, and let the chips fall where they may, and heads should roll if we find out the allegations that have been made are true.”

Last year, Isakson was one of the members of Georgia’s congressional delegation who raised concerns and led a hearing with VA officials in Atlanta.The hearing came after an internal audit linking three deaths to mismanagement in the Atlanta VA’s mental health programs. Since that time, a new director has been hired, and Isakson says things at the Center have improved...

“From what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing they are.”

Meanwhile, Georgia Democratic Congressman David Scott has been calling for Shinseki’s resignation since last year.

In an NPR Interview Wednesday, Shinseki said if the Phoenix allegations are true the VA will take swift and appropriate action. And this was Shinseki’s response when asked whether he should resign if the alleged deaths in Arizona are substantiated.

“Let’s see what’s the Inspector General comes back with in substantiation. For five years now in this job, I have focused on making sure veterans are well cared for, they have access, and they receive have high quality health care and also that we take care of their needs in disability benefits.”

After federal inspectors discovered employees at a Colorado VA clinic falsified scheduling records, Shinseki said he has also requested a system wide look at scheduling.