Veterans

Shulkin stresses 'lot of work to do' to fix beleaguered VA

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is warning the VA is "still in critical condition" despite efforts to reduce wait times for medical appointments and expand care in the private sector.

In a "State of the VA" report released Wednesday, he points to decades of disrepair and bloated bureaucracy.

He offers a blunt diagnosis: "There is a lot of work to do."

Veterans can get "same-day" services at medical centers but are still waiting too long for new appointments at about 30 locations nationwide. Many primary care centers are understaffed. Inventory systems at several facilities are woefully out of date, and employee accountability "clearly broken."

Shulkin says the VA had about 1,500 disciplinary actions against employees pending, citing legal requirements it wait at least a month before taking action for misconduct.