Top Veterans Official Resigns Amid Claims of Poor Care - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Top Veterans Official Resigns Amid Claims of Poor Care

Posted: Updated:

A top official in charge of veterans health care stepped down Friday, the first head to roll in a growing scandal over delayed and substandard care at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Undersecretary Robert Petzel submitted his resignation a day after he and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki were grilled by federal lawmakers over allegations of long wait times, substandard care, and falsified records at VA medical centers around the country.

In one case, a whistleblower has alleged that up to 40 veterans died while awaiting appointments in a VA facility in Phoenix.

Shinseki said in a statement that he had accepted Petzel’s resignation.

"As we know from the veteran community, most veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care," Shinseki said. "I am committed to strengthening veterans' trust and confidence in their VA healthcare system."

Petzel, a career VA doctor, had been undersecretary since 2010. In an op-ed published Thursday in USA Today, he wrote that he was “personally saddened” by any case of a veteran receiving poor care. He vowed "prompt and appropriate action" if the allegations of misconduct turned out to be substantiated by the agency’s inspector general.

Petzel had previously planned to retire later this year. But Shinseki lost confidence in Petzel, and asked him to step down, a source told NBC News.
Powered by Frankly