(Reuters) – The top health official at the Department of Veterans Affairs resigned on Friday amid a growing scandal about healthcare delays that has also seen calls for the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Shinseki, in a statement, said he accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA’s undersecretary for health who had already been expected to retire, and acknowledged the need to ensure more timely treatment of America’s military veterans.
“As we know from the veteran community, most veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care,” Shinseki said.
He stopped short of blaming Petzel for delays, however, and did not explicitly say why Petzel resigned. In a statement last September, the VA said Petzel already had planned to retire in 2014 and it was taking steps to find candidates to replace him.