VA turns to private hospitals for help

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will let more veterans obtain health care at private hospitals, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced Saturday.

Shinseki, who faces calls to resign amid reports of lengthy waiting lists and preventable deaths in the VA’s healthcare system, said the agency is "increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA care," according to the Associated Press. 

Shineski said the agency is also attempting to boost capacity at its own facilities to help deal with the backlog of medical treatments.

The announcement comes as the department attempts to deal with the fallout from allegations of medical treatment backlogs employees are accused of trying to cover up.

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Republicans have called for President Obama to fire Shineski, who is himself a veteran, for allowing the backlog to develop. 

Obama has expressed concern about the mistreatment of military veterans, but he has thus far resisted calls to remove Shineski for his Cabinet.