Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Shinseki Resigns over VA Health Treatment Delays

May 30, 2014 -- Bowing to mounting demands by lawmakers, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned over allegations that VA hospitals falsified waiting lists to conceal excessive patient wait times for health care.

President Barack Obama said he accepted the resignation "with considerable regret" after meeting with Shinseki at the White House. He said Shinseki said he did not want to be a distraction.

"I agree," Obama said. "We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem."

Shinseki has been under fire for weeks over reports that veterans at a Phoenix VA hospital waited months for care and that officially reported wait times were falsified to cover up the delays. An interim report this week by the agency's inspector general found that as many as 1,700 veterans at the Phoenix hospital may not have been put on official waiting lists.

The allegations, along with reports of similar problems at other VA hospitals around the country, have prompted demands for Shinseki's removal. In recent days, high-profile Democrats including Sens. Mark Udall of Colorado, Mark Warner of Virginia and Kay Hagan of North Carolina have joined Republican lawmakers in insisting that Shinseki must go.

Shinseki, a retired four-star general and former Army chief of staff, came to national prominence in 2003, when he told a Senate committee that several hundred thousand more troops than the Bush administration planned to use would be needed for an effective invasion of Iraq.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Shinseki also was U.S. Army commander in Europe and head of the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Herzegovina during his 38-year career. He was decorated with two purple hearts and three bronze stars.

"Rick Shineski has served this country with honor for almost 50 years," Obama said, noting that he had "left part of himself on the battlefield."

Obama called Shinseki "a good person who has done exemplary work."

"I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances," the president added.

Shinseki resigned just hours after apologizing to veterans groups and calling the coverups of waiting times a "breach of integrity."

"I was too trusting of some," Shinseki said.

Shinseki will be succeeded for now by Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson.

Gibson was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 11, following his nomination by Obama. Gibson before then was president and chief executive officer of the United Services Organizations. He is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served as an infantry officer in the Army.

Publication Details