Secretary’s farewell message to VA employees



On January 22, 2011, the Secretary greeted and met some of the more than 400 metropolitan area homeless Veterans at the VA medical center's annual Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down in Washington, DC.  (VA photo/Andrew White)

On January 22, 2011, the Secretary greeted and met some of the more than 400 metropolitan area homeless Veterans at the VA medical center’s annual Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down in Washington, DC. (VA photo/Andrew White)

This morning, I resigned as secretary of Veterans Affairs. My personal and professional commitment and my loyalty to Veterans, their families, and our survivors was the driving force behind that decision. That loyalty has never wavered, and it will never wane.

shinseki quoteOver the course of the last five-and-a-half years, you have made significant and lasting progress in expanding access for Veterans, in significantly decreasing the backlog in Veterans’ claims while building the system that will end the backlog in 2015, and in bringing an end to Veterans’ homelessness. We have come a long way together in bringing this department into the 21st Century in ways that will serve Veterans well into the future. Yet, there is more work to be done, and I have no doubt that you will achieve all that you set about doing in the interest of Veterans.

I have been privileged to have served as your Secretary and am deeply grateful to the employees and leaders who have placed the interests of Veterans above and beyond their own self-interests; who are serving with dignity, compassion, and dedication; and who live by VA’s core values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence. I know that you will provide your support and loyalty to Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who is now your leader. In fact, I expect it.

Thank you. May God richly bless all of you, Veterans, and this great country of ours.

Eric K. Shinseki

 

Author

Eric K. Shinseki

Comments

  1. Ray Ulrich    

    Brandon Friedman said it best: “The VA employees who constructed and supervised the appointment wait time scheme go back to work tomorrow. The guy they lied to stays home.”

    Secretary Shinseki, Thank you for your service to America, and her Veterans!!

  2. patrick jahnke    

    I believe the VA’s doctor are getting a bonus for taking away narcotic drug from them I seen 2 n p and 2 doctors refused give me my pain meds after my doc retired. Why I Dont know they can’t tell me me why but willing give me gabapinten , sorry try it nasty side effect and did not work on burn. Can I get pain and surfing know? I Ccc a burn specialist next week and go from their.

  3. Ryu Chan Soo    

    Dear Mr. Secretary Shinseki …
    I deeply regret that the news of your resignation. I understand you have made your utmost every efforts for US veterans during your term and achieved notable innovations of the VA administration and management, but also I paying you my warmest respect and honor for your contribution that your have made kind cooperative friendship and alliance between US & Korea. I do hope you and your family members are keeping well. May God bless you, your family and your works in your future.

    From your Korean Friend, Ryu Chan Soo, KDVSC/KDVO

  4. Dalton Raines    

    It was hospital managers that should have been fired . They have gamed the system and abused the people they should have serviced as we served our country.

  5. PAUL TENENBAUM    

    Secretary Shinseki, as far as I am concerned, did a superior job. He faced a mess that is indescribable. But quietly he worked along with his staff to overcome the accumulated huge amount of backlog. One of the first requirements was to greet and
    treat every veteran like human beings. believe me I know what I am talking about. My
    case was started in 1984 and I am hopeful that this will be the year when I can close my files and I have a ton of letters, mostly mine. Because of a few with the previous mindset, that is work slow because the older Vet will be gone anyway. The new Cape Coral facility is working fine, waiting time almost none, doctors care (there is always an exception) and above all the Pharmacy is second to none. They deserve so many Kudos and are usually never recognized. I truly am sorry that Secretary Shinseki left because all the GOP people and some Democrats felt the change should come from the top when it is already proven that the change should have started from the bottom.
    There were a few rotten apples and we allowed the entire tree to be cut down
    I would suggest that starting immediately every veteran who sees a doctor or is communicating with the VA, should be able to complete a “Review form” and inform
    the Inspector General by checking off: good, bad or indifferent plus a comment when necessary. This way the system will be effective from the start.

  6. gene court    

    I have watched the VA worsen since WW2. It is, and has been a disgrace. I’m 100%Sc, and don’t gave Medicare. I have to pay for my own healthcare because the VA medical care is so poor if, I want SOME PROTECTION AND SATISFACTION. It, and its’ employees are a disgrace and you cannot fire them. It’s time to contract VA Health Care out to people who can do the job properly and cheaper. If I had depended upon the VA for my medical care, I would be dead, homeless, or a junkie.

  7. Pati Mellerson    

    Sorry to see the Secretary resigned. Properly fund and educate staff.Non performing staff Should be replaced. Many private healthcare facilities are computerized. The VA systems should be also.

  8. James Fikes    

    Want everyone to know personally I have received excellent care from my Conway Arkansas VA Clinic and Dr. Diamond.She is a wonderful physician,caring,compassionate.You can tell that she truly loves caring for her patients,the VA needs to hire more docs to help cut back on the wait time unfair to the vets and one doctor trying to meet needs of so many. With that being said,I am not so pleased with the appeals process in Veterans Administration Arkansas.I filed a claim in November of 2010, it was denied for lack of evidence, I appealed in January 2012,my claim still sits today over 2 years and was told a decision could be another year out,this is disgraceful,and not just for me but all other vets.I developed a skin condition in 1972 while overseas in the Philippines.I served my country 23 years,all total.Yes,I do feel like the VA is trying to wait on us to pass to keep from paying benefits.When I started my appeal was told there was 5000 cases before me today they say there is still 5000,what up with this?So you are telling me in all this time you have not moved a case? When I call to check on my case it you can tell they are reading from a script,and will remind me of the last time I called!!!Also I think that on the ebenefit page you cannot check your appeal status as far as progress goes.Thank you for reading and listening,one tired Marine!!

  9. Anthony    

    Dear Veterans,

    I am ddeply disturbed to hear of my fellow veterans dying over health issues that can be prevented or succesfully delt with. I myself obtain services from the Veterans Hospital in which I have encountered both superb treatment and services with excellent follow-up and corteous staff, and unfornately also have encounterd long wait times between appoinments and non-caring staff. I believe it is their supervisors responsbiltity to fix these problems and weed out the bad apples. This would help tremendously all the veterans trying to obtain services and the good staff providing services. I am sure the are also tired of thier uncaring co-workers whom don not appreciate veterans or the jobs they have.

  10. Butch Lemmon    

    I believe the head should have stayed on and take the heat.

  11. Edward Chancey 1SG (Ret)    

    GENERAL SHINSEKI,
    YOU THE VA A VERY LOND WAY IN THE TIME YOU WERE HERE AND IT WAS ALL FOR THE GOD. I HAD FAITH IN YOU TO FIX THE PROBLEM IN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM ONCE MADE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM. I AM SORRY THE VSO’S AND CONGRES WANTED TO USE YOU AS A SCAPE GOAT BECAUSE ONE MAN CAN NOT DO EVERTHING AND HAS TO PLACE HIS TRUST IN THE PEOPLE HE APPOINTED FOR THOSE OTHER OVERSEERES. YOU WERE A GREAT LEADER WITH GREAT IDEAS AND YOU WILL BE MISSED. I SALUTE YOU SIR FOR YOUR SERVICE TO THIS COUNTRY AND THE POSITIVE CHANGES YOU MADE TO THE SYSTEM. I AM NOT ONLY A VETERAN BUT AN EMPLOYEE AND SEEN GREAT CHANGES SINCE YOU TOOK OFFICE. GOD BLESS YOU.

  12. ric stuber    

    The employees at each location who commuted fraud should be fired immediately and prosecuted if a veteran died as a result of there stupidity charged should be brought against that person or persons. Poor health care I experienced my self.
    Example doctor tells me all I have is an allergy go to drug store and buy clairtain. Turns out I have chronic bronchitis with Copd.

    She was not a good Doctor if I had listen to her I might be dead.
    Get rid of lazy unproductive employees and you will improve your health care.
    One last item I wrote a complaint letter to shinkie and no response.
    Which means employees who worked for the general put it in the round file. I followed up with second copy sent it certified mail this time I was taken care of.

    I was able to spend 90 minute’s with the doctor who was a great doctor and discovered the bronchitis and the Copd.

    Get good people and fire the losers and try listening to the patience for. A change.

    Ric stuber. #1854

  13. Clover    

    The person(s) that should have been held responsible was not Gen Shinseki it is all the Ctr Directors/Scheduling Supervisors/Direct Line Scheduling Supervisors! These are the people who are responsible for reporting their wait lists to Washington. The Ctr Directors at the facilities are the ones who cheat the books in order to retain their big bonuses each year! So all of you who called for Shinseki to resign got it WRONG because you don’t know how the system works you only think you do! It is time to start going after these Center Directors who pretend to manage these facilities and in most cases they are just figure heads others are actually running the place! I think Shinseki is taking the fall for all the mismanagers and trust me there are a lot of them in the system and that my friends is the first place you should have looked not him! Shinseki deserves his job back and lets start investigating each center director and trust me you will uncover more than you ever wanted to know from unfair hiring practices, union misconduct the list goes on…Worst part is they never get fired just reassigned to another facility…

  14. Don    

    He found its not like the military, or civilian management. Unions and massive government regulations keep you from being unable to fire the bad characters. You might say it takes an act of congress. Fortunately most VA employees are dedicated to taking case of the vet.

  15. Robert    

    GEN Shinseki should have remained Secretary of Veterans Affairs to correct the actions of the violators, both supervisory and subordinates, who failed to follow the statutes and regulations of the government.

  16. WILLIAM COLEMAN    

    GOOD RIDDANCE! DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT!

  17. THOMAS WALDEN    

    dear sir, yes think I’m on a waiting list to get my be nefits, but the care that I have received has been in a timely manner and could not ask for any better care than I got from the VA, I am one of the ones that did not want to see you go thank you for your leadership and your service

  18. edward heldman    

    good ridence to a political hack.

  19. edward heldman    

    he was no friend of us veterans. he was an uncaring bureaucrat. just a political hack. good ridence.

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