Cynical Twist: Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary For Health ‘Resigns’ Despite Having Already Announced Retirement

New York, NY (May 16, 2014) – Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki today announced the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health at the VA. However it’s important to note that in 2013, the VA announced Dr. Petzel was scheduled to retire in 2014 after a 40-year career serving the veterans community.

IAVA Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino released the following statement:

“We don’t need the VA to find a scapegoat; we need an actual plan to restore a culture of accountability throughout the VA.

To be clear, Dr. Petzel’s resignation is not the step toward accountability that our members need to see from VA leaders. Anyone who has been following this situation knows that Dr. Petzel had already announced his retirement earlier this year. In fact, on May 1st, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. Jeffrey A. Murawsky to his post.

There may indeed be serious doubts about Dr. Petzel’s leadership as it relates to recent allegations of manipulating wait times for VA health care appointments but his early departure does nothing to solve those concerns. We need accountability and transparency throughout the entire VA health system. Without real action from the VA, this token resignation just weeks before it was already scheduled to happen does nothing to rebuild faith in VA health care.”

Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.