American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger pointed to data
just released today by the Department of Veterans Affairs as
confirmation that the problems plaguing VA are widespread but fixable
with proper leadership and appropriate resources.
"The VA should be commended for conducting this audit and for additional
action announced by Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson," Dellinger said. "The
fact that more than 57,000 patients - a population equal to that of
Ocala, Florida - have waited more than 90 days for initial appointments
is disgraceful. Even worse, is that an additional 64,000 enrolled over
the past 10 years have been unable to get appointments. This is not just
'gaming the system.' It's Russian Roulette and veterans are dying
because of he bureaucracy."
Dellinger said that Gibson's order to establish a new patient
satisfaction measurement program, hold senior leaders accountable,
increase transparency and remove 14-day scheduling goals from employee
performance contracts are positive steps.
"The President and Congress must also provide VA the resources it needs
to succeed," Dellinger said. "We have said from the beginning that
Phoenix was not an isolated case. The VA problems are widespread. The
American Legion is listening and the American people are watching. This
is not political. Making VA accessible and accountable to our nation's
veterans is a moral imperative. The American Legion stands by ready to
assist VA in living up to our obligation to those who have worn the
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American
Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national
security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs.
Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly
14,000 posts across the nation.
A high resolution photo of the National Commander is available at www.legion.org.
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