VA Chief Resigns, Local Veterans React -

VA Chief Resigns, Local Veterans React

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Local veterans tell My Fox Carolinas it’s unclear whether or not the fallout from the national Veterans Affairs scandal will impact regional services, but they hope accountability is strengthened at every level of the VA system.

President Obama announced in a press conference Friday that the embattled chief of Veterans Affairs is resigning after a far reaching scandal that involves veterans not getting the prompt medical care they need.

Sloan Gibson will replace Eric Shinseki as VA Chief. In the press conference, Mr. Obama emphasized that he believes Shinseki is a good man. "I want somebody at the VA who is not spending time outside of solving problems for the veterans," he said.

Jerry Hilliard, a Salisbury resident, fought in Vietnam and now suffers from the effects of Agent Orange. He gets some of his care at the VA hospital in Salisbury. Hilliard said, “Over the years it’s (health care) been excellent. I don’t have any complaints with it. Fortunately, I’ve been treated well.”

Veterans told My Fox Carolina Friday they’re pleased with the health care in Salisbury, which isn’t the case throughout the country. Investigators are looking into complaints of widespread problems within the VA system nationwide and cover-ups of wait times, which may have jeopardized patient care. Hilliard said, “It’s sad that people were not put on the waiting list in a timely manner, if that turns out to be true. That’s very sad, and I feel sorry for those families who suffered losses and possibly even lost lives due to that.”

Ed Sullivan, another local veteran, was a pilot during the first Gulf War. He said the VA has got to get things right for a number of reasons, including recruitment of future service members. Sullivan said, “Locally I think the folks that need to be on top of it are on top of it, and making sure it isn’t happening here. If it is happening here, I’m pretty confident that they’re trying to take care of it.”

No one from the Salisbury VA hospital was available to talk with us on camera Friday. A spokesman says an audit was done earlier this month, and no major issues were found. He says a full report on that will come later on.

Hilliard said, “I understand they have audits and inspections from time to time. I know in the military we did.” Hilliard knows a time when veterans didn’t get the support they deserved. He said, “It’s a good feeling today, where people are thanking you for your service. That makes us proud and feel good.”

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