Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) told a crowd of veterans Friday that reported lapses in care at a Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital are part of a nationwide problem that needs to be fixed.

"This is not a unique situation as far as Arizona is concerned," McCain said. "I emphasize everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but this appears to be a problem of nationwide implications."

McCain, a Vietnam veteran, listened to complaints Friday in a forum from several veterans who expressed frustration with what they call a broken system.

The remarks come amid controversy in recent weeks that administrators in Phoenix kept a "secret waiting list" to conceal lengthy delays in medical treatment at its facilities. As many as 40 veterans may have died as a result, which have led to calls for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation.

While other lawmakers have urged Shinseki to step down, McCain stopped short of it.

"I would like to see Secretary Shinseki in his capacity appearing before Congress and the American people saying what went on," he said.

Chuck Burns, a veteran living in Gilbert, Ariz., who attended the event, said "The VA health care system is broken," saying it's taking too long for vets to get help and for widows to receive benefits.

Shinseki said this week he has ordered an audit of access to care at all VA medical centers.