Watchdog: No proof treatment delays killed vets

WASHINGTON (AP) — The internal watchdog at the Department of Veterans Affairs says new complaints about long wait lists and falsified patient appointment reports have surfaced at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. But Richard Griffin, the department's acting inspector general, says there's no proof so far that delays in treatment have caused any patient's death.

Griffin testified today before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Earlier today, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told the panel he was "mad as hell" about allegations of severe problems and said he's looking for quick results from a nationwide audit. He rejected calls for him to resign and a senator's suggestion that he call in the FBI to investigate.

Shinseki told the committee he hopes to have preliminary results within three weeks on audits he ordered at the VA's 150 medical centers and 820 community outpatient clinics nationwide in an effort to determine how widespread treatment delays and falsified reports are.

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311-w-34-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Richard Griffin, acting inspector general, Department of Veterans Affairs)--The Veterans Administration's internal watchdog says so far there's nothing to link treatment delays with deaths. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (15 May 2014)

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304-a-11-(Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, with reporters after testifying before Senate Veterans Affairs Committee)-"on out there"-Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says he hopes VA employees cooperate with the audits he's ordered so officials can learn exactly what the problems are. (15 May 2014)

<<CUT *304 (05/15/14)££ 00:11 "on out there"

APPHOTO DCCO131: Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki speaks with the news media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 15, 2014, after testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing to examine the state of Veterans Affairs health care. Facing calls to resign, Shinseki said Thursday that he hopes to have a preliminary report within three weeks on how widespread treatment delays and falsified patient scheduling reports are at VA facilities nationwide, following allegations that up to 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix VA center. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (15 May 2014)

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