© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Obama Seeking Expert Advice on Overhauling Scandal-Plagued VA
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about post traumatic stress disorder before signing into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, named for Clay Hunt, which calls for evaluation of existing Veterans Affairs mental health and suicide prevention programs and expands the reach of these programs for veterans, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at the White House in Washington. The bill is named for Clay Hunt of Texas, a Marine Corps combat veteran who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and who killed himself in March 2011 at the age of 28. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Obama Seeking Expert Advice on Overhauling Scandal-Plagued VA

Leaders from the private sector and government will make recommendations on how to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is still reeling from last year's wait-list scandal.

President Barack Obama announced the committee Friday at the Phoenix VA hospital, the epicenter of the scandal that kicked off revelations about delayed health care for veterans around the country.

Obama said the new leadership at the VA is “chipping away” at the problems.

“We all know that there have been significant problems at this facility, that the kind of cooking the books and the unwillingness to face up to the fact," Obama said.

Obama announced that Joe Robles, a veteran and CEO of USAA, a financial services firm, will be heading up the committee. White House officials said members of the panel would include business leaders with experience in “large-scale organizational change” as well as customer service expertise and members of veteran service organizations, Reuters reported.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Still, Obama also stressed, “there are outstanding folks here at this VA and all the VA’s across the country who are deserving of trust.”

“We’ve brought in a new team that has been tackling these issues to make sure that wait times for scheduling, access to providers is greatly improved,” the president continued. “But what we know is there is still more work to do.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald accompanied the president for his announcement and long-awaited visit to the VA hospital.

Obama faced heavy criticism in January when he was in Phoenix to promote a housing policy and his motorcade drove right by the VA hospital without a visit.

Last year, VA facilities were found to have doctored waiting lists to hide the monumental delays in health care for some veterans, some of whom reportedly died waiting for treatment. The revelations prompted Eric Shinseki's resignation as department secretary.

It seems unlikely the tour through the facility will prompt real reform, said Dan Caldwell, the legislative director for Concerned Veterans for America.

“It will be impossible for the president to get a truly unvarnished view of the problems that persist at the Phoenix VA if he relies on a tour led by the very people responsible for the problems there,” Caldwell said.

This post has been updated.

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?