Sanders calls hearing to probe Veterans Affairs 'secret waiting list'

 

Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said his panel will hold a hearing on allegations of patient neglect at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. 

"I am troubled when I hear that any veteran may have received substandard service from VA," he wrote Thursday in a letter to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) after they called for an investigation. [READ THE LETTER HERE.]

The move comes after CNN reported this week that a "secret waiting list" was created by Veterans Affairs managers in an effort to hide between 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans who were forced to wait months to see a doctor.

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According to CNN, 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments in the veterans healthcare system in Phoenix.

CNN's list was separate from a public list shared with officials in Washington showing that the VA was providing timely appointments, the news organization reported. 

Congress reacted swiftly to the report. 

"Congress should conduct emergency hearings to get the information necessary to fully root out these problems and President Obama should immediately designate an official responsible for implementing rapid changes," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a statement. 

Sanders urged the Veterans Affairs inspector general to expedite an investigation already underway. 

"Once the IG collects additional information, we can engage in a more informed deliberation on the allegations in Phoenix," Sanders said.