"The president is here in San Diego," said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, at a news conference outside the War Memorial Building Auditorium in Balboa Park. "He needs to tell veterans what he's doing to clean up VA."
Rieckhoff said his group is polling its 200,000 members to determine whether it should join the
A House Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday voted to subpoena Shinseki for emails and documents tied to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, which has been accused of maintaining a secret "waiting list" of veterans, some of whom died while waiting for treatment.
Other controversies have swirled around Veterans Affairs facilities nationwide.
"He's yet to address the veterans," Rieckhoff said. "The president needs to assure them that he's taking action."
Rieckhoff noted that, so far, "San Diego has been one of the higher-performing VAs."
"I am meeting with the scheduling clerks to reinforce, in person, the importance that they schedule ethically and with integrity," Gering said. More than 90% of the clerks are veterans.
By some reports, the San Diego region has the highest number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the country. The region is "the largest base" of membership in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Rieckhoff said.
The group has formed a Rapid Response Referral Program to assist veterans who have experienced undue delay in getting care from the VA. Rieckhoff said veterans in San Diego and elsewhere can call 855-917-2743 for help.