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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

About IAVA

"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America...remains the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans." - TIME Magazine

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the premier veterans advocacy and support organization on the planet. Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness, and 1-on-1 case management support. Our mission is to connect, unite, and empower over 425,000 veterans and allies nationwide. We have connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided thousands of veterans of all generations with life-saving and life-changing personalized support from our Masters-level social service professionals.

Learn more at iava.org.