Local veterans speak out about VA hospital scandal - WSMV Channel 4

Local veterans speak out about VA hospital scandal

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The scandal at Veterans Affairs hospitals has the nation's leaders having to answer tough questions.

With mounting pressure to fire U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, local veterans spoke out Sunday on what they think is behind the issue.

"They've got to cut the red tape," said U.S. Navy veteran Joseph Villa. "It's the biggest problem veterans have."

After news broke of 40 veterans dying in Phoenix while waiting for care, Congress spoke out in outrage after learning that there was a reported coverup of a hospital backlog.

"In the Phoenix case there was an alternate list to make it look like they were actually dealing with veterans that were actually in line to get care and were not," said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN.

Corker said he and his colleagues believe there could be local wrongdoing as well.

"We have a report where we think the same thing happened in Memphis with three people," said Corker.

U.S. Navy veteran J. Vinny McCrum helped lay a memorial at the central flag pole.

"We were the first group that got to put their memorial out there," said McCrum.

He said short staffing and budget issues are to blame for the issues.

"VA employees are taking the heat for trying to meet standards that were written by Congress, but they wouldn't have enough people to actually meet," said McCrum.

New energy is being used to not only protect troops abroad, but also veterans at home.

"I think we're all shocked that these veterans that we hold up - Memorial Day's going to be here Monday - we hold on a pedestal for their great service to our nation, and yet the very organization that has been set up and created to deal with their needs has been so deficient to do so," said Corker.

There has been no word from Washington on whether Shinseki will be fired or forced to resign.

President Barack Obama is expected to have a report this week on the scandal in Phoenix.

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