- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki has tendered his resignation in the midst of a scandal involving the VA’s electronic waiting lists for healthcare appointments.
“With regret, I accepted [the resignation],” Obama said in a statement. “He has worked hard to investigate and identify the problem. The VA needs new leadership to address it. He does not want to be a distraction.”
Despite initiating the cleanout of top VA posts involved in the scandal and starting a system-wide audit of improper practices, Shinseki has been buffeted by calls for his resignation since allegations of wrongdoing at the Phoenix VA emerged last month. An initial report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) confirmed problems with how VA staff manipulated wait times to improve their productivity numbers, leaving 1700 veterans without the ability to access the care they sought.
Shinseki has also struggled to bring interoperability to the VA, overseeing a convoluted and contentious joint project with the Department of Defense that has seen innumerable setbacks, disappointments, and false starts. The retired four-star general is a veteran of combat in Vietnam and has spent more than four decades in military service.