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US veterans affairs chief resigns over healthcare scandal

Published on May 31, 2014 12:30 AM
US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki addresses the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington, DC. on May 30, 2014.  -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Embattled Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki, facing calls for his ouster by lawmakers and veterans groups, resigned on Friday after taking responsibility for a healthcare scandal over delays in medical care for US veterans.

President Barack Obama said he accepted the resignation of the soft-spoken, 71-year-old retired Army general after being briefed on the initial findings of the investigation into abuses that were initially found in Phoenix but later identified at other facilities across the country.

"A few minutes ago, Secretary Shinseki offered me his own resignation. With considerable regret, I accepted," the president told a news conference, praising Shinseki's military career and accomplishments at the VA, including tackling issues like post-traumatic stress syndrome and homelessness among veterans.

"Ric's commitment to our veterans is unquestioned. His service to our country is exemplary," Obama said. "He has worked hard to investigate and identify the problems with access to care. But, as he told me this morning, the VA needs new leadership to address them."

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