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Updated May 5, 2014 - 3:46 pm

Legion calls for VA’s Shinseki, 2 top aides to quit

INDIANAPOLIS — The American Legion called Monday for the resignations of
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and two of his top aides amid an
investigation into allegations of corruption and unnecessary deaths at the
veterans’ hospital in Phoenix.

Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger accused Shinseki, Under Secretary of
Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey of poor
oversight and leadership failures.

“The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence
and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks,” Dellinger said
during a news conference at the organization’s Indianapolis headquarters.

The Phoenix hospital has been under fire over allegations that up to 40
patients may have died because of delays in care and that the hospital kept a
secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide the treatment delays.
Shinseki announced Thursday that three officials there have been placed on
leave.

Dellinger also cited VA’s acknowledgement that 23 have died as a result of
delayed care in recent years and the findings of an investigation by VA’s Office
of Medical Inspector that clerks at the Fort Collins, Colorado, clinic were
instructed last year how to falsify appointment records. Other problems have
occurred in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia, he said.

“There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top,”
Dellinger said.

The VA didn’t immediately respond Monday to a message from The Associated Press
seeking comment.

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