Eric Shinseki was summoned by President Obama to the white house because of problems that appeared in the media about phone record-keeping noticed in VA hospitals. Shinseki then offered his official resignation and the President accepted.
President Obama agreed with Shinseki and his “belief that he would be a distraction.” He went on to say “We don’t have time for distractions. We need to fix the problems.”
The problems first surfaced on Wednesday after an inspector general’s report showed that VA was currently modifying the official books in order to hide the long wait that veterans dealt with in hospitals in Phoenix. The report showed that similar practices were employed in other cities.
Shinseki held a speech on Friday and mentioned that he was wrong in believing that those problems were isolated. He declared:
“I can take responsibility for it and I do. So, given the facts I now know, I apologize.”
Although Shinseki did take immediate action in eliminating bonuses for executives and firing Phoenix officials, it was not enough as he eventually resigned the following day. Sloan Gibson was named as a temporal successor.
VA related problems exist even before Barack Obama’ presidency and the work as VA Secretary done by Shinseki. In 2003 it was shown that over 236,000 veterans were on waiting lists for over six months for initial followups or first appointments.