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IAVA Reacts to the Testimony of the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

Washington DC (May 15, 2014) – Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki today testified before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs for a hearing on the State of VA Health Care. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino addressed what post-9/11 veterans wanted to hear from Shinseki when he testified about the growing controversy. His testimony can be found here.

IAVA Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino released the following statement following the hearing:

“Today’s testimony from Secretary Shinseki did not restore confidence that VA senior leadership is responding with action and not just concern. Our members are outraged. And we need to see a bold plan to address these allegations.

The Committee highlighted previous reports of scheduling failures and possible cover-ups. Yet still, the Secretary did not detail exactly how the VA holds its employees accountable when these concerns are raised. Today we heard plans to investigate, but few plans on how the VA will actually solve the problem in the coming critical days and weeks.

The evidence provided so far demands immediate action. The VA cannot simply wait for the conclusion of the Inspector General’s review to overhaul its system of accountability.”

Veterans and their families who have concerns about their treatment at the VA can go here.

Earlier today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) announced they are joining together to protect VA staff who come forward with information about agency wrongdoing.

As part of the effort, the organizations have launched a secure website, www.VAOversight.org, where VA employees can get in touch with POGO and IAVA. The effort combines IAVA’s deep knowledge of the VA system with POGO’s experience working with whistleblowers to expose federal wrongdoing.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) 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 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.