published Friday, May 16th, 2014

Congress growing impatient on inquiry in VA deaths

  • photo
    Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki listens to a reporters question while speaking with the news media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 15, 2014, after testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing to examine the state of Veterans Affairs health care. Facing calls to resign, Shinseki said Thursday that he hopes to have a preliminary report within three weeks on how widespread treatment delays and falsified patient scheduling reports are at VA facilities nationwide, following allegations that up to 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix VA center.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

By MATTHEW DALY

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Patience is wearing thin in Congress as lawmakers confront allegations of treatment delays and falsified patient-appointment reports at health centers run by the Veterans Affairs Department. A former clinic director says dozens of veterans died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix VA hospital.

Sen. Patty Murray says reports of problems at VA medical facilities date back at least 14 years, and in each case were followed by promises of action.

Murray, who is a Washington state Democrat, says the VA needs decisive action to restore veterans' confidence.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has promised a preliminary report within three weeks on treatment delays and falsified patient-appointment reports at VA health centers. There are centers in Chattanooga and Tennessee.

The department's inspector general is conducting a separate investigation into the Phoenix VA that should be finished in August.

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