Sanders: Fire 'incompetent' VA staff now

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The chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee called Monday for the immediate dismissal of "incompetent administrators and those who have manipulated wait-time data," following the release of a VA healthcare audit.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said a bill he is crafting with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would allow the VA to hold its employees accountable.

“It is equally important, however, to understand that the reason certain VA facilities around the country have long wait times is because they lack an adequate number of doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners," Sanders added in a statement.

The VA audit showed more than 57,000 veterans are waiting more than 90 days for their first medical appointment, and more than 63,000 veterans who had requested first appointments over the last 10 years were never scheduled for one.

Sanders and McCain's bill is expected to be voted on as early as this week. The House is also expected to vote on its own version this week, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), House Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman.

"The legislation, which I hope will be on the floor in a few days, would help the VA hire — in an expedited manner — the professional staffing that is needed to address long wait times. The legislation also provides that if a veteran is unable to access care in a timely manner, he or she may go outside of the VA to a private doctor, community health center or other facility to get that care.”