House panel seeks acting VA secretary

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee has invited acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson to appear before the panel as it examines the healthcare scandal that has consumed the department.

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The hearing, scheduled for Thursday, will focus on the department’s “organizational structures” following an inspector general report that found bureaucratic issues that impeded the agency’s Veterans Health Administration and “place patients at-risk of unexpected outcomes,” according to a letter from panel Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).

If Gibson accepts the invite it would mark his first Capitol Hill appearance since being appointed interim VA chief. President Obama tapped Gibson to run the troubled agency after Eric Shinseki stepped down last Friday in the wake of two reports that uncovered widespread data fraud at VA facilities around the country.

On Thursday Gibson confirmed that 18 veterans kept on a secret patient list at an agency hospital in Phoenix died while waiting to receive care. He is slated to visit another VA facility in San Antonio on Friday to investigate reports of treatment delays there.

The results of a White House-mandated nationwide audit of the agency’s medical sites are due to be released on Monday.