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Profile: Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs was a participant or observer in the following events:
The Department of Veterans Affairs announces that it is immediately cutting health care benefits to Category 8 veterans. The agency says that the decision to cut the benefits, which will affect an estimated 164,000 US veterans, is made because there is a growing backlog of veterans still waiting to receive their first treatment from a VA health care facility. Veterans classified as Category 8 are veterans who do not suffer from military service-related disabilities or health problems and who make $30,000 to $35,000 or more per year. [Washington Post, 1/17/2003]
General Kevin Kiley. [Source: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences]General Kevin Kiley, the Army’s Surgeon General and the temporary commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, abruptly retires under pressure from superior officers. Kiley is the third top Army official forced out in the fallout from revelations of horrendous treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed. In a statement released by the Army, Kiley says, "I submitted my retirement because I think it is in the best interest of the Army." Kiley says he wants to allow Army officials to "focus completely on the way ahead." Last week, Kiley said, "We have failed to meet our own standards at Walter Reed. For that, I’m both personally and professionally sorry." Congressional committees and a number of investigative boards are scrutinizing the treatment of wounded troops and veterans by the military’s entire medical system, as well as by the Department of Veterans Affairs, headed by Jim Nicholson. The probes come with the administration already struggling to defend its widely unpopular war policies in Iraq, and the Democratic-led Congress citing poor care for troops as the latest instance of incompetent administration planning for the conflict. On March 6, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kiley tried to claim that he knew little about the specific problems at Walter Reed, though documents clearly showed that Kiley had been specifically informed of an array of serious problems at the hospital, and Kiley’s apparent arrogance towards family members who testified before the committee. While many lawmakers welcome Kiley’s departure, Ike Skelton, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, notes that Kiley’s firing alone will not solve the problems plaguing the Army’s medical care system. "With the installation of new leaders, the real test will be making sure that the work fixing problems actually gets done," Skelton says. Tom Davis, the Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says Kiley "did not seem to understand the scope of his job." [Los Angeles Times, 3/13/2007]
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