By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – The acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs said on Friday the agency is putting out bids for “purchased care” that would allow veterans to be treated at other hospitals at the VA’s expense while cutting backlogs at its facilities.
“In far too many instances, in far too many locations, we have let our veterans down,” Sloan Gibson told reporters after a tour of the sprawling Audie Murphy VA Medical Center in San Antonio. VA hospitals and clinics will be open during non-traditional hours to expand coverage, said Gibson, who was appointed acting secretary of the department on May 30.
U.S. lawmakers engaged in bipartisan talks this week to address delays in the delivery of health care for military veterans. The talks came after former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in late May amid a scandal over widespread schemes to mask care delays and protect staff bonus awards and salary increases.
“We have lost an awful lot of trust, and we have work to do to earn it back,” Gibson said. “With veterans, we will do that one veteran at a time.”
Gibson said repeatedly that VA managers and administrators who are found to have engaged in what he called “breaches of integrity” will be held accountable.
U.S. Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who had complained to Gibson about improper management at the Audie Murphy hospital, said he was pleased with Gibson’s comments during the visit.
“We need swift action and strong resolve to fix the broken system at the VA,” Smith said.
In Phoenix, where cover-up schemes first surfaced, doctors said 40 veterans had died while awaiting care.
“I will personally meet with the families of any veterans who died after failing to get care,” Gibson said.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Dan Grebler)
[Image: Acting U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson speaks with the media after meeting with staff members at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona June 5, 2014. By Samantha Sais for Reuters]
Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’
President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.
Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.
Here is some of what people were saying:
Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo
— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019
‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism
An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.
Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.
Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.
Here is the thread he posted:
‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’
Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.
CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."
Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."