Former Army helicopter pilot Amber Barno says that the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is the "first step of many steps" needed to get to the bottom of the issues plaguing VA hospitals around the country.
"We can't lose sight of what is important here, and that is fixing the VA for veterans," Barno told J.D. Hayworth and Morgan Thompson on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Friday.
"Secretary Shinseki's resignation was just the first step, there's a lot of work that has to be done, but it is going to set that accountability culture that needs to happen within the VA," she explained.
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President Barack Obama accepted Shinseki's resignation
Friday morning, saying that he didn't want the VA secretary's presence to be a distraction for the department.
Prior to the resignation, Shinseki issued an apology
for the scandal in which VA hospitals across the country were allegedly keeping secret wait lists to make it look like patients were not waiting more than the 14-day required period, when in fact they were sometimes waiting for months. Forty VA patients in Phoenix allegedly died while waiting to see a doctor at the VA hospital there.
Barno said that she hopes the Senate will pass the Managment of Accountability Act, which has already made it through the House.
"That will allow the new secretary to change the status quo so he'll be able to fire his top level managers within the VA — if they're not doing their job, if they're lying, different ethical issues, as we've seen," she explained. "So they can bring in people who are going to do the right job."
She said that she agrees with House Speaker John Boehner that "we can't lose sight of the VA scandal just because Shinseki resigned, that's just the first step, there's still a lot of work to be done."
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