Congressman Collins applauds resignation of VA Secretary

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday in light of several disturbing reports about the way US veterans are receiving healthcare.

“There should be a lot more heads rolling,” according to Congressman Chris Collins, who called for the resignation of Shinseki a year ago after it was discovered that hundreds of insulin pens had been reused on different patients at the VA.

“That first and second management tier is part of the problem and they need to be wiped clean and then we need to get to work quickly to get this problem fixed.”

News 4 reported earlier this week that it takes the Buffalo VA Regional Office an average of more than six months to make a decision on veterans benefits. That is the seventh longest wait time of any VA benefits office in the nation.

Congressman Brian Higgins of Buffalo says the resignation of the secretary does not solve the problems.

“I’ve asked five very specific questions about the ratio between claims and the number of staff. If it’s staffing, they have to deploy more staff to address this problem.”

Shinseki came to Buffalo four years ago and was impressed with Buffalo’s Veterans Court.

Ronal Bassham is a volunteer at Buffalo’s VA Hospital who thinks Shinseki has done a lot of good things.

“I believe in my honest heart that he has been a great wonder for the VA system here. I mean we’ve got women in the system, we didn’t have before. We have more PTSD programs here than before. We have a daycare program here thanks to him that we didn’t have before.”

US Navy Veteran Ron Barrett has no complaints about the care he’s received at the Buffalo Veterans Hospital.

“I’ve had better care here than I’ve got from private doctors.”

But Collins believe it is still far from what veterans deserve.

“The day that matters now is tomorrow. Let’s get a new man or woman in charge, someone who’s going to work day and night to get this problem fixed.”

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