GRANDFATHER SHOOTS DAUGHTER, 6 GRANDCHILDRENRABID RACCOON WARNINGLST 325 DEPARTSSTRANDED IN CABO
Friday, May 30 2014, 01:14 PM EDT
Veterans Affairs Head Shinseki Resigns Amid VA Controversy
By Julie Pace and Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday after publicly apologizing for systemic problems plaguing the agency's health care system.

President Barack Obama said he accepted the retired four-star general's resignation "with considerable regret" during an Oval Office meeting. Shinseki had been facing mounting calls to step down from lawmakers in both parties since a scathing internal report out Wednesday found broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system, which provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.

Obama said Shinseki had served with honor, but the secretary told him the agency needs new leadership and he doesn't want to be a distraction. "I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem," Obama said.

The president named Sloan D. Gibson, currently the deputy VA secretary, to run the department on an interim basis while he searches for another secretary.

A career banker, Gibson has held the No. 2 post at the department since February of this year. He came to the department after serving as president and chief executive officer of the USO, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to U.S. troops and their families, and after a 20-year career in banking.

Gibson is the son of an Army Air Corpsman who served in World War II and grandson of a World War I Army Infantryman.

In a speech earlier Friday to a veterans group, Shinseki said the problems outlined in the report were "totally unacceptable" and a "breach of trust" that he found indefensible. He announced he would take a series of steps to respond, including ousting senior officials at the troubled Phoenix health care facility, the initial focus of the investigation.

He concurred with the report's conclusion that the problems extended throughout the VA's 1,700 health care facilities nationwide, and said that "I was too trusting of some" in the VA system.

The VA has a goal of trying to give patients an appointment within 14 days of when they first seek care.  Treatment delays -- and irregularities in recording patient waiting times -- have been documented in numerous reports from government and outside organizations for years and have been well-known to VA officials, member of Congress and veteran service organizations.

But the controversy now swirling around the VA stems from allegations that employees were keeping a secret waiting list at the Phoenix hospital -- and that up to 40 patients may have died while awaiting care. A preliminary VA inspector general probe into the allegations found systemic falsification of appointment records at Phoenix and other locations but has not made a determination on whether any deaths are related to the delays.

The agency has been struggling to keep up with a huge demand for its services -- some 9 million enrolled now compared to 8 million in 2008. The influx comes from returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, aging Vietnam War vets who now have more health problems, a move by Congress to expand the number of those eligible for care and the migration of veterans to the VA during the last recession after they lost their jobs or switched to the VA when their private insurance became more expensive.

Shinseki said the last several weeks have been "challenging" but that his agency takes caring for veterans seriously.

"I can't explain the lack of integrity," he told a homeless veterans group. "I will not defend it, because it is not defensible." The beleaguered Cabinet official received a standing ovation and loud applause.

An inspector general's report found that about 1,700 veterans in need of care were "at risk of being lost or forgotten" after being kept off an official waiting list.

The report confirmed earlier allegations of excessive waiting times for care in Phoenix, with an average 115-day wait for a first appointment for those on the waiting list -- nearly five times as long as the 24-day average the hospital had reported.

"This situation can be fixed," Shinseki told an audience of several hundred people from around the nation who have been working with the VA on helping homeless veterans. "Leadership and integrity problems can and must be fixed -- and now."

He said the government would not give any performance bonuses this year, would use all authorities it has against those "who instigated or tolerated" the falsification of wait time records and that performance on achieving wait time targets will no longer be considered in employee job reviews. He also asked Congress to support a bill by Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., which would give the department more authority to remove senior government employees who are in leadership positions.

The House has passed a similar bill that would give the VA more ability to fire up to 450 senior executives at the agency.

Those attending Shinseki's speech in a downtown Washington hotel were overwhelmingly friendly, supportive because of his work in sharply decreasing homelessness among veterans. Shinseki at one point noted that the number of homeless veterans has fallen by nearly 25 percent since 2013. The audience gave him a long, standing ovation, whistling and hooting, when he entered the room and again before and after he spoke.

"He has made a difference. I'm living it," said James Wheatley, a 20-year veteran of the Army who now works at mental health facility that helps veterans in Indianapolis, In.

"He's a good man," said Steven Nelson, a veteran who works at an employment center in Tuscon, Arizona. "When I go to the VA (for health care), I'm well taken care of and everybody I know is."

------
Associated Press Writer Donna Cassata contributed to this story.
Veterans Affairs Head Shinseki Resigns Amid VA Controversy

Advertise with us!

Related Stories

  • WTVC :: Community - The Good Life

    The Good Life

    Celebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
  • WTVC :: Community - Sideroads

    Sideroads

    Take a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
  • WTVC :: Community - Road Trippin

    Road Trippin

    Come Road Trippin' with us and see all the great sites in your area!
  • WTVC :: Community - Closings and Delays

    Closings and Delays

    These are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
  • WTVC :: Community - This N That

    This N That

    Learn about the latest in community affairs and great events with Brian Smith on This 'N That.
  • WTVC :: Community - Educator of the Week

    Educator of the Week

    Nominate now for Educator Of The Week!
  • WTVC :: Community - Wednesday's Child

    Wednesday's Child



  • WTVC :: Community - Deaf & Hard of Hearing

    Deaf & Hard of Hearing

    Information provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
  • WTVC :: Community - Community Calendar

    Community Calendar



  • WTVC :: Community - Photo Galleries

    Photo Galleries



  • WTVC :: Community - Sponsored Events

    Sponsored Events

    Check Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!


News - Top Health Stories

Line-up Begins at Midnight Friday for Free Medical Clinic in Ooltewah

Study: Artificial Sweeteners May Promote Diabetes

Report Finds Most New Cancer Drugs Target DNA

Study Finds Secret to Lasting Marriage Is a Happy Wife

Green Juice: Healthy, or Not So Much?

Single Mom Shares Story of Being Pregnant at 51

Children Most Affected by Virus Outbreak

Ebola Victim Breaks Her Silence:

101 and Staying Healthy, Going Strong

Erlanger Launches Mobile Heart Screening Center

Ice Bucket Challenge Brings Awareness to ALS

Women Keeping 'Botox Secret' From Husbands

Memorial Surgeons First in Area to Use New Breakthrough Procedure

American Doctor With Ebola Got Experimental Antibody Serum Before U.S. Arrival

Bipartisan Deal to Reform VA Includes New Clinic in Chattanooga

Health Officials Scramble to Contain Ebola Outbreak

Family of Deaf Couple Sues Erlanger Hospital

Hopkins Settles Pelvic Exam Suits for $190 Million

Local Hospital Ranked Highly by Magazine

Erlanger Receives $1 M Innovation Award from BlueCross

CDC Mishaps Could Have Been Deadly

Got a Rash? Your iPad Could be to Blame

Is Your Blood O Negative? Join the 6 Percent Club

Olympic Runner Criticized for Training While Pregnant

New TN Law Lets Public Break Windows to Get Kids out of a Hot Car

Medical Panel Suggests Yearly Pap Exams Unnecessary

Memorial to Open Urgent Care Center in Cleveland.

Panel: Flu Spray Better Than Flu Shot

Susan G. Komen Race Turns 15

Free HIV Testing June 26-28

Community Health Center Gets $12,000 Grant

New 'Breast Density' Law Goes Into Effect in TN July 1

Memorail Named Top 100 Great Community Hospital

Memorial Announces Board of Directors for 2014-2015

Woman Videotapes Herself Having a Stroke

Hamilton County Health Officials: Protect Yourself from Chikungunya

Local Health Dept. Urges HPV Vaccinations

Study: Breast Cancer Tests Increase Survival Rate by 30 Percent

FDA Poised to Reduce Salt in Your Food

Teams are forming now for the 2014 Cleveland Heart Walk

Hutcheson Announces Management Team Changes

Life Care Center of East Ridge Grows Neuro-Rehab Specialty Program

Lee University School of Nursing Set to Open in Fall

Study: Teens Are Drinking Less, Texting More

Another Infant Dies in (Recalled) 'Nap Nanny' Incident

Memorial Hospital Names New Heart and Vascular Center

Detection Easy as

Blood Assurance Announces June Blood Drives

Celebrity Summer Slim Down Tips

Veterans Affairs Head Shinseki Resigns Amid VA Controversy

Apison Elementary Educators Get Emergency Training

Protection From Life-Threatening Concussions

Blood Assurance Benefit This Weekend

T.C. Thompson Seeks Support in 'Battle of the Brave'

Local Surgeon And Family on The Doctors TV Show

Erlanger Receives Advertising Awards

Rain or Shine, Chattanooga Pulls Together for March for Babies

Study Finds Pregnancy Tied to Car Crash Risk

Parkridge West Hospital Appoints Emergency Department Director

GMA's Amy Robach 'Kicking Cancer's Butt'

FDA Moving to Regulate E-cigs

Grandview Medical Center in Jasper to Become Parkridge West Hospital

Epilepsy Specialist Joins UT Erlanger Neurology Group

Alzheimer’s Association Support Group Coming to Rhea County

Don Mackler, MD Joins Hutcheson Gastroenterology

UK Scientists Make Body Parts in Lab

Poll Reveals Little Faith in New Healthcare Plan

Area Rite Aids Raising Funds for Children’s Hospital

Rearview Cameras to be Required in New Vehicles

Honorees Announced for 2014 Annual Doctors’ Day Salute

TWC Students Provide Health Care in Costa Rica

'Dash for DS' with Lila and Latricia

Pink! Nets $250,000 for MaryEllen Locher Breast Center

Time Changes Sunday, Quick Tips to Adjust Your Body Clock

Parkridge East Hosts 'Mommy To Bee' Maternity Event

Erlanger and Children’s Hospital Partner with the TN Dept. of Health to Reduce Infant Deaths

Chattanooga Mental Health Facility Pays Penalty for False Claims

CDC: Cruise Ship Bug is Newer Norovirus Strain

CVS to Halt Tobacco Sales

Well-known Erlanger Physician Dies

Erlanger Welcomes OrthoSouth to the UT Erlanger Health Network

HCA Buys Grandview Medical Center

Hamilton County 911 Employees of the Year

Two Flu-related Deaths Confirmed in North Georgia

Ways to Get Fit in 2014

Erlanger Rings in the New Year with First Babies

Flu Shots Encouraged, Free for the Uninsured

Family 411: Holiday Adoptions

New VA Clinics Coming to Region

E-Cigarettes Become Popular Holiday Gifts

Young Man With Downs Accepted to College

Expectant Mothers React to Hutcheson Changes

Memorial Welcomes New Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Robert Bowers is TMA Public Health Champion

Coming Clean About Anti-Bacterial Soap

DCS says It's Doing Better Job Reporting Child Deaths

Henry Family Donates $104,000 to Memorial Foundation

ABC News' Amy Robach Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Is Football Glory Worth Potential Brain Damage?

FDA to Ban Artery-clogging Trans Fats

Sebelius: Couple of Hundred Website Fixes Required

Carol Sim Named as President and CEO of Siskin Hospital

New Homeless Health Care Clinic Set to Open November 4

Study Finds Long-Term Effects from Spanking Children

Donations South to Aid I-40 Crash Victims

North Georgia Woman Hits Lottery for Third Time

Salmonella Warning Across the Country

A Survivor's Message

More Drug Dependent Newborns in Tennessee

Parkridge East Hosts 'Mommy To Bee' Event, Nov. 2

Affordable Care Act Exchanges Open, Information Session in Chattanooga

Alternative Music Festival in Cleveland Raises Funds for Children's Hospital

Your Health - Is There an App For That?

Color Run raises $7,000 for Children's Hospital

Getting Healthcare for Kids

Three New West Nile Virus Cases in Tennessee

Powerful Story to be Told by Young mother and Stroke Survivor

U.S. One of Last Holdouts for Paid Maternity Leave

New Hamilton County Emergency Service Station Opens

Will Affordable Healthcare Really be Affordable?

Lung Transplant Girl Goes Home

Sheraton Read House Hosts 'Historic' Event for Children’s Hospital

Dr. Jeremy Bruce Joins Parkridge Medical Center Staff

MaryEllen Locher Breast Center Hosts Book Signing

A Closer Look at Healthcare Reform

Gov. Haslam Promoting Healthier Tennessee

Consumer Reports Rates Local Hospitals

Dr. Bill Moore Smith Tapped for Leadership Role at Erlanger

GOP Senator Calls Obamacare a 'Train Wreck'

Dr. Alexander Roberts Joins Staff of Parkridge Medical Center

Down Syndrome Awareness Night at the Lookouts

Erlanger Recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Memorial Hospital Names Hospital Presidents

Family Donates to Children's Hospital in Daughter's Memory

Memorial Hospital Announces 2013-2014 Board of Directors

Tammy Pietrzak Joins Parkridge Valley as ACNO/COO

Erlanger Opens New Urgent Care

Color Run Raises Funds for Children's Hospital

High School Grad Raises $19,000 for Children's Hospital

Hyundai 'Hope on Wheels' Donates $75,000 to Children's Hospital.

National HIV Testing Day is June 27

Parkridge Medical Center Receives Blue Distinction Center Designation for Quality

Julie Taylor Named Chief Development Officer for Erlanger Foundations

9th Southeastern Wilderness Medicine Conference June 22-26

Riverbend Expands Smoke-free Zone

Grammy-Nominated Trio Wilson Phillips to Headline StarNight 2013

Widespread Support for Angelina

Actress, Celebrity Angelina Jolie had Double Mastectomy

Free 5-minute Online Assessment for Hepatitis Could Save Your Life.

Dragon Boat Festival Raises $230,000

Ochs Center Releases 'Sobering' Report of Area Health

Wine and Pearls 2013 Raises Nearly $42,000 for Cancer Support

Italian Study: Pizza Reduces Cancer Risk

Belk Offering Free Mammograms

Measures to Protect Tenn. High School, College Students

Parkridge East Hospital Appoints Morgan As Director of Surgical Services

Parkridge East Hospital offers Cardiac and Vascular Screening, May 7

Graphic Anti-Smoking Billboard Draws Attention

Peyton Donates $500,000 to Pat Summitt Foundation

SunTrust Foundation Awards $25,000 to The Next Door Chattanooga

Drs. Caine & Ruffner, Hamilton County Project Access Win Awards

Tenn. Governor Says 'No' to Medicaid Expansion

Chicks and Ducks Are Cute, but Not for Easter

Schools Closing Due to Illness

GPS and McCallie Fight Cancer Together

Chattanooga'™s 'œRump Run' 5K Promotes Colon Cancer Awareness

Erlanger Opens New Gunbarrel Rd. Facility

Parkridge Sleep Center Offers Tips for Daylight Saving Time

Possible Breakthrough HIV Cure

Choking Prevention for Children

Pink! Nets $325,000

Parkridge Presents Wine and Pearls

Rapid HIV Testing Offered in Dalton

Memorial Hospital Receives Cardiology Award

Gunshot Victim Making a Difference at Life Care Center of Red Bank

Memphis Hospital CEO Chosen to Run Erlanger

Ringling Bros. Clowns Visit Children's Hospital

New Parkridge Medical Center Cardiac Recovery Unit Opens Thursday

Memorial's Mobile Mammography Coach to Visit Belk at Hamilton Place

Medicaid Questions and Answers

Four People Exposed to Rabid Llama in North Georgia

Life Care Center of Red Bank earns company’s Gold rehab standard

January is National Blood Donor Month

Parkridge Welcomes It's 1st Baby of 2013

TennCare Doctors Will See Reimbursement Boost

Hamilton Co. Schools Collecting TennCare Money

Athens Residents Save With Prescription Plan

Cure Kids Cancer Radiothon raises $125,000 in pledges and donations

Erlanger stroke services receive American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Award

Hixson Flight Museum donates $1,000 to Children€'s Hospital

Gov. Haslam Turns Down Federal Healthcare Exchange

TVA Board Delegates Authority to CEO

Alcohol Won't Keep You Warm

Sunny 92.3 hosts 6th Annual Cure Kids Cancer Radiothon

County Health Clinics Offering Free Flu Vaccines

Georgia Company Recalls Chicken

Health Warning on New Round of Meningitis Concerns

Tenn. residents get doctor by phone

Memorial Awarded an 'A' for Patient Safety

Bike Chattanooga celebrates 1M calories burned

100% of LIFE FORCE Flight Nurses and Paramedics Board Certified

Memorial and United Healthcare Reach New Agreement

Pulmonologist Tim Ashburn, MD Joins Hutcheson Medical Center

Memorial Foundation Announces Buz Standefer Lung Center

Erlanger Celebrates Halloween

Whitfield Residents Exposed to Rabies from Pet Cat

Parkridge East Announces Prenatal Classes For November – December

Spine Surgery Associates Joins Parkridge Medical Group

EPA Removing Lead Pollution from Yards of Southside Homes

Chattanooga Oncology to Merge with Larger Group

Costco Donates $26,000 to Erlanger

Chattanooga Doctor Saves Man at Denver Convention

Parkridge Establishes Center for Robotic Surgery

49 Cases of Fungal Meningitis in Tennessee

Meningitis Outbreak Spreading, 5 Deaths

2 Dead From Middle TN Meningitis Outbreak

Chattanooga, Cleveland Firefighters Win Top Honors in State Competition

Dr. Bill Moore Smith Earns Distinction

Health Officials to Begin 'Rabies Vaccine Drop'

Painted Bras To Benefit MaryEllen Locher Center

Chattanooga MoonPie Bakery Issues Voluntary Recall

Rabid Raccoon Found in North Georgia

HCA - Parkridge Fined $16.5 Million

Soddy Daisy Teen Receives Youth Volunteer Award

Dr. Creel Becomes Erlanger CMO

Kellie Pickler Shaves Her Head

Flu Shots Available in North Georgia

Good News for Erlanger at Hutcheson

Annual Erlanger Day at Chattanooga Market

Thousands Of Care Bears Pacifiers Recalled

Children'€™s Hospital Therapy Services now offered at Erlanger North

Health officials Warn of Tainted Canteloupe

Popular Bumbo Infant Floor Seat Recalled

Tennessee Nursing Job Market More Competitive

Tenn. Health Dept. Issues MRSA Warning

Memorial, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Negotiations Stall

Erlanger named one of America’s Top Hospitals by U.S. News and World Report

Time for Back to School Immunizations

Haslam Says Tenn. on Track if Health Care Upheld

Siskin Expands Center for Developmental Pediatrics

What is the Best Sunscreen?

Officials Issue Blood Plea Due to Summer Demand

Erlanger Helps Raise Money For Food Bank

CDC: Motorcycle Helmet Laws Reduce Deaths

Are 'Spray-On' Tans Safe?

Memorial's Mobile Mammography Coach to Visit Bledsoe Fairgrounds

ABC's Robin Roberts Battling Myelodysplastic Syndrome or MDS

HealthSouth to Break Ground on Expansion

Erlanger at Hutcheson Names Chief Medical Officer

Erlanger at Hutcheson Earns ACR Accreditations

Miller Plaza Declared 'Smoke Free'

Tick-borne Disease Spreading in Tennessee

Parkridge Valley Counselor Offers Summertime Tips for Families with Kids

Tennessee's Dental Health Among Worst in Nation

Woman Battles Flesh-eating Bacteria

Free Self-Defense Class for Women in Dalton

Dalton PD Makes Special Effort to Protect Kids for Prom Week

Families Dealing With Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Parents: Beware of Bottle Bombs

Tennessee Getting $5 Million More in Settlement

Tenn. House passes health care compact measure

Erlanger at Hutcheson to Host Baby Event

Tick Season Arrives Early in Tennessee

Erlanger hosts Stop Stroke Saturday

Tenn. Senate OKs new restrictions on abortion doctors

Erlanger at Hutcheson to Host Baby Event

Memorial Health Tips for Hernia Prevention

Memorial Offers One-of-a-kind Cancer Caregiver Support Group

Parkridge Hosts Disaster Drill

Overtaxed and Stressed?

Parkridge Maternity Event, April 21

Weight-loss Surgery Leads to Diabetic Remission

Tricia Davies Receives Award from Craniofacial Foundation

Parkridge Implants New High-tech Heart Device

Parkridge Hosts a Toast to Hope

Children's Hospital at Erlanger joins national effort to reverse the obesity epidemic

State students to do part of anti-tobacco campaign

Bid Made on Restaurant Barge


Advertise with us!

Business News

Alibaba shares surge in debut on NYSE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alibaba's stock is surging as the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse begins its first day trading as a public company.

Consumer Info

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. ...

Entertainment News

DARRELL HAMMOND TO TAKE OVER SNL ANNOUNCER'S ROLE FOR LATE DON PARDO

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's a new gig -- and an old one -- for Darrell Hammond.

Get This

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION-POLL

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new poll indicates that lots of folks in Washington, D.C.

Science/Tech News

IN THE NEWS: HOME DEPOT BREACH WAS EXTENSIVE

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's largest home improvement retailer now is confirming it is the victim of one of the largest data thefts in U.S.


 

Tonight on WTVC NewsChannel 9

7:00 Wheel of Fortune

7:30 Jeopardy 

8:00 Last Man Standing

8:30 Last Man Standing

9:00 Shark Tank

10:00 20/20

11:00 NewsChannel 9 

11:35 Jimmy Kimmel Live

Complete Schedule »


Road Trippin
No Text Zone
Pay It Forward
Makers Faire
Storm Track 9 Weather App