Loma Linda VA

In the wake of the resignation Friday of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki over revelations of extended waits for appointments at hospitals under his direction, we examine how veterans fare when it comes to health services at local VA hospitals.

By Jim Steinberg, The Sun
Posted: 05/30/14, 8:41 PM PDT | Updated: 50 secs ago

LOMA LINDA >> Wendy Clouser of Big Bear Lake has been taking medications for post-traumatic stress disorder — one of them experimental — for two years.

She hasn’t seen a psychiatrist at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center in Loma Linda to evaluate the medications since the day she picked up the prescriptions.

But not for lack of trying, she said.

“I make an appointment and it gets canceled. Then I call back to make another appointment and they call and cancel again,” said Clouser, a wheelchair-bound Army veteran with PTSD, a traumatic brain injury and a spinal injury.

On Friday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki apologized in public and then resigned in the privacy of the White House, driven from office by a mushrooming scandal over the agency’s health care system that serves millions of the nation’s former warriors.

President Barack Obama said he accepted the resignation “with considerable regret,” and appointed Sloan Gibson, the agency’s No. 2 official, as temporary secretary. Obama also said that the Justice Department would determine if any illegality had occurred, and that a top White House aide who has been detailed to the Veterans Affairs Department would remain there.

Several veterans on Friday said that Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, has helped them or others get needed services.

Cook could not be reached for comment Friday, but said in a statement he welcomed Friday’s resignation of Shinseki as secretary of veterans affairs.

“The time has come for new leadership,” Cook said. “Accountability must come from the top and it’s clear that the entire leadership of the VA needs to be held accountable.”

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