The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its top health official’s “resignation” Friday despite the fact that he was already scheduled to retire in 2014 and has a replacement lined up, records reveal.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki accepted Friday the “resignation” of Under Secretary for Health Affairs Robert Petzel amid a growing scandal about VA secret waiting lists and deadly wait times for veterans.
“Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Shinseki said in a statement. ”As we know from the Veteran community, most Veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.”
But Petzel was already scheduled to retire.
“Following a 40-year career serving Veterans as a VA physician, teacher, and administrator, Dr. Robert A. Petzel, will retire in 2014 as planned, following a four-year tenure as Under Secretary for Health,” according to a Sept. 20, 2013 VA press release obtained by The Daily Caller.
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jeffrey A. Murawsky as Petzel’s replacement in a May 1, 2014 White House press release.
House Committee on Veterans Affairs chairman Rep. Jeff Miller noticed and commented on the fraudulent resignation.
“Today’s announcement from VA regarding Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel’s ‘resignation’ is the pinnacle of disingenuous political doublespeak,” Miller said in a statement.
“Petzel was already scheduled to retire in 2014 and President Obama has already announced his intention to nominate Petzel’s replacement, so characterizing this as a ‘resignation’ just doesn’t pass the smell test,” Miller said. “Desperate to get ahead of a delays in care crisis that is growing by the day, yet apparently unwilling to take substantive actions to hold any of its leaders accountable for negligence that harms veterans, VA has resorted to what it does best: splitting semantic hairs to create the illusion of accountability and progress. After yesterday’s out-of-touch performance from Sec. Shinseki, I was disappointed. Today, I am even more disillusioned.”