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Petzel in a twist over VA healthcare scandal

Shinseki (r) looks on as Petzel testifies on Capitol Hill this week.
Shinseki (r) looks on as Petzel testifies on Capitol Hill this week.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Veterans Affairs undersecretary Robert Petzel took the hit amid the ongoing scandal regarding falsified record keeping at some VA hospitals regarding delayed treatment for vetrerans throughout the country. The move comes one day after he and his boss, VA secretary Eric Shinseki were grilled on Capitol Hill by a Senate Committee, and only a few months before he was due to retire anyway. He is due to be replaced by Dr. Jeffrey A. Murawsky

Shinseki, who refused to resign, himself, stated that he was “mad as hell over the situation, and vowed to make sure to improve “timely access to health care.”

“I am committed to strengthening veterans’ trust and confidence in their VA healthcare system.”

In the meantime, Petzel penned an opinion piece published by USA Today stating, “We take any allegations about patient care or employee misconduct very seriously, and I am personally saddened by an adverse consequence that a veteran might experience while in, or as a result of our care. If allegations regarding misconduct and patient care are true, they are completely unacceptable to veterans, Secretary Shinseki and to our dedicated employees, he wrote.”

Although veterans have complained for years about being forced to endure long waits for appointments, as well as getting their claims processed, it was not until a “whistle blower” at the VA hospital in Phoenix, AZ made allegations that approximately 40 people “may have died as a result of those delays, and that staff kept a ‘secret’ list to them up,” that Washington finally decided to act. Of course, there is also some conjecture that midterm elections this year have also spurred the Hill to action at this particular time.