WASHINGTON, D.C.–Just days after Florida Congressman Jeff Miller, Chair of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, visited Mississippi to hear about conditions at V.A. hospitals, the number two man at the national Veterans Affairs Administration has stepped down.
Robert Petzel, the undersecretary for health, turned in his notice Friday, said Dr. Sam Foote, the man who “blew the whistle” on conditions at V.A. hospitals all over the country.
“It’s a great first step to finally get rid of him because he’s been the chief cover-up artist at the V.A. for a very long time,” said Foote on Fox News Sunday.
Miller (R) said during his visit last week to this state that at times it appears it is much easier to get bonuses than it is to get fired for wrong doing in the agency.
Bad sterilization and misdiagnoses are just some of the accusations against the G.V. Sonny Montgomery Medical Center in Jackson. Patients there have been complaining for years, enough for there to be a 70 percent turnover in the administration.
As far as the resignation for V.A. Sec. Eric Shinseki, Miller told News Mississippi it may not be time.
“Right up to the secretary, transparency and accountability is critical,” he said. “There have been some calls for his resignation. I’m not there yet.”
That sentiment was echoed by Foote.
“This is a guy who at some point in his career, knew how to take names, knew how to kick butt when he needed to and hold people accountable. That’s the guy we need in there, not the guy who’s set back and let Petzel run everything,” said Foote.
He said he believes Pres. Obama should keep him “on a short leash”.