Rep. Tim Ryan: 'Time for a change' at VA

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 29, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, as the VA scandal grows, so, too is the anger, and it`s not just Republicans now calling for the secretary`s head.

Democrat Tim Ryan wants the general out as well.

The congressman joins me right now.

You have had enough.

REP. TIM RYAN, D - OH: Yes. Yes. I think it`s time.

I mean, to me, this is, as someone just said, the most sacred responsibility that we have. And I just think that this is obviously a systemic problem. This has been going on since all the way back really to 2000, but these reports have been coming out since 2005.

And I just think, as great as Mr. Shinseki has been in all the service he`s done to the United States, I think it`s time for a change now. We need a new set of eyes on this problem. We need someone who can go in and figure out exactly what is wrong with the system, what is wrong with the bureaucracy, and I think most importantly, Neil, we need someone who can just reestablish trust with the veterans of the United States right now.

CAVUTO: But you`re quite right to say, Congressman, there are have been other sets of eyes looking at this problem through Democratic and Republican administrations alike. And it`s been an ongoing one. And I`m wondering if just changing the chief changes anything.

RYAN: Well, I think if you don`t have the trust of the vets in the United States, which I think Secretary Shinseki is losing more and more every single day, then it`s going to be harder and harder to reestablish what needs to happen at the VA.

And, yeah, there are -- you need a new set of eyes. These are very complicated problems, I`m sure, but I think someone needs to get in there who has a lot of experience working inside of a bureaucracy, can kick some people in the butt, quite frankly, that need to get kicked in the butt, and then need to come to Congress and ask for the different authorities that they may need to be able to do that.

This is a huge problem, but the next person also, Neil, needs to start looking at the complementary and alternative approaches to taking care of our veterans. We can`t have this default position where we`re just going to put our veterans on medication.

We`re spending $1.5 billion a month basically drugging up, antidepressant, antipsychotic medications, when there are alternative techniques, integrative health techniques, acupuncture, different kinds of meditation techniques, that are getting these veterans off of drugs, down to maybe from 12 to two or three, getting them sleeping through the night for the first time in years.

The next person to come in needs to put that program really on steroids and get it ramped it up, so that we can address the needs of our veterans and start healing them and not just putting them on medication.

CAVUTO: But I`m wondering, isn`t the more pressing problem, sir, the fact that a lot of them have to wait months, years sometimes for simple service? Isn`t there something we could do that if they`re waiting at a VA hospital for that kind of treatment to remove a lesion or something like that, that could be cancerous, that they get a slip or a voucher to go to a hospital that could take care of that pronto?

That would seem to be a readily doable fix. I know everything is an administrative nightmare, but our soldiers shouldn`t have to wait for stuff. Right?

RYAN: And I agree.

I think all of this needs to be on the table. Neil, sometimes, these crises produce opportunities as well, and this may be an opportunity for us to look at some real reform. I know a lot of the - the things and approaches that I mentioned, the complementary and alternative medicine, vets are going on their own to pay out of pocket for acupuncture, for example, and they`re finding it one of the only things that can really help them.

CAVUTO: All right.

RYAN: So, getting them outside of the VA for some of these other operations or procedures is something I think we should definitely look at.

CAVUTO: Very good. All right. Congressman, thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time.

RYAN: Thanks, Neil.

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