Added to Various — VA history and scandal

April 23
2014At least 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments to see a doctor at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system. The patients were on a secret list designed to hide lengthy delays from VA officials in Washington, according to a recently retired VA doctor and several high-level sources.

April 28
2014 – President Barack Obama calls for an investigation into the situation in Phoenix.

April 30
2014 – Top officials at the Phoenix VA deny the existence of a secret appointment waiting list.

May 1
2014 – Shinseki places the director of the Phoenix VA and two aides on administrative leave pending the investigation into the veterans’ deaths.

May 5
2014 – Veterans groups call for Shinseki’s resignation. American Legion National Commander Daniel Dillinger says the deaths reported by CNN appear to be part of a “pattern of scandals that has infected the entire system.”

May 6
2014 – Despite the clamor for Shinseki’s ouster, White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama “remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the department and take appropriate action.” Shinseki tells the Wall Street Journal he will not resign.

May 8
2014 – The House Veterans Affairs Committee votes to subpoena Shinseki and others in relation to the Phoenix scandal.

May 9
2014The scheduling scandal widens as a Cheyenne, Wyoming, VA employee is placed on administrative leave after an email surfaces in which the employee discusses “gaming the system a bit” to manipulate waiting times. The suspension comes a day after a scheduling clerk in San Antonio admitted to “cooking the books” to shorten apparent waiting times. Three days later, two employees in Durham, North Carolina, are placed on leave over similar allegations.

May 15
2014Shinseki testifies before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “Any allegation, any adverse incident like this makes me mad as hell,” he says. At the same hearing, acting Inspector General Richard Griffin tells lawmakers that federal prosecutors are working with his office looking into allegations veterans died while waiting for appointments.

May 19
2014 – Three supervisors at the Gainesville, Florida, VA hospital are placed on paid leave after investigators find a list of patients requiring follow-up care kept on paper, not in the VA’s computerized scheduling system.

May 20
2014 – The VA’s Office of Inspector General says it is investigating 26 agency facilities for allegations of doctored waiting times.

May 21
2014Obama says he “will not stand” for misconduct at VA hospitals, but asks for time to allow the investigation to run its course. The same day, Shinseki rescinds Phoenix VA director Sharon Helman’s $8,495 bonus. Helman got the bonus in April, even as agency investigators were looking into allegations at the facility.

May 22
2014 – The chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee says his group has received information “that will make what has already come out look like kindergarten stuff.” He does not elaborate.

May 28
2014 – A preliminary report from the VA inspector general’s office finds systemic problems at health facilities nationwide, and serious management and scheduling issues in Phoenix.

May 29
2014 – Political pressure mounts from Senate Democrats and others for Shinseki to go.

May 30
2014President Barack Obama accepts Eric Shinseki’s resignation. Obama says he did so with regret, and said that Shinseki offered to step down at a White House meeting with the President so as not to be a distraction going forward. Obama said that Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson will temporarily fill Shinseki’s role as the search is launched for a permanent replacement.

21 July
1930 – The Veterans Administration is established to replace the troubled Veterans Bureau and two other agencies involved in veterans’ care.

August 9
1921 – Congress creates the Veterans Bureau to administer assistance to World War I veterans. It quickly devolves into corruption, and is abolished nine years later under a cloud of scandal.

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