Duckworth Calls VA Allegations “Unacceptable”

Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth is vowing to get to the bottom of the scandal involving country's VA hospitals.

Hines VA hospital near suburban Maywood may be the latest facility under scrutiny as the investigation into secret waiting lists widens.

Federal auditors visited the hospital Wednesday amid allegations that Hines kept waiting lists for sick patients off the books to make it seem as if they were being treated sooner and falsified patient appointment reports.

The reports first came to light in Phoenix, where up to 40 veterans may have died before receiving care. That facility's director, Sharon Helman, came from Hines. She is currently on leave.

Duckworth, a wounded Iraqi War veteran herself, says veterans deserve better, and that it may be necessary to make fundamental changes at the VA.

"I choose to got to Hines for my primary care instead of going to a civilian doctor somewhere, but I have to tell you, when you have a hospital network that large, we have to look at the compensation system.. It looks like some of the hospital directors are being compensated with bonuses with based on whether they meet the 14-day standard, and that just incentivizes someone to cheat," Duckworth said.

Duckworth's former boss, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, is under fire for the allegations and has vowed to hold employees accountable for any misconduct.

President Barack Obama appointed deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors Wednesday to review VA health care procedures and policies.

Shinseki told lawmakers at a Senate hearing Thursday that he has no plans to resign.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who toured Hines last year, is also calling for a wider investigation into all 900 VA hospital facilities.

Hines director Joan Ricard acknowledged the federal probe and released a statement saying they have “received no evidence or specific facts about data manipulation” at the hospital.

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