A preliminary report looking at scheduling problems at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix is fueling calls for the head of the agency to step down. According to the report, inappropriate scheduling practices are common throughout the entire VA health system.
More lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are calling for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down.
"It's time for Secretary Shinseki to step down," said Sen. John McCain, R-AZ.
A preliminary VA Inspector General's report found 1,700 veterans who requested a primary care appointment at the hospital in Phoenix were not placed on the electronic waiting list.
The wait time for veterans who did get appointments was 115 days, not the 24 days the hospital reported.
The investigation has now expanded to 42 facilities where scheduling managers may have manipulated wait times in order to boost pay and bonuses.
At a late night hearing on Capitol Hill, lawmakers expressed anger at VA officials for not being more forthcoming.
"Veterans died," said Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "Get us the answers please!"
While lawmaker outrage is growing, the Inspector General's report points out both Congress and the VA have known about scheduling issues for nearly a decade.
The IG wrote: "since 2005, the VA office of the Inspector General has issued 18 reports that identified deficiencies in scheduling."
"We discounted the OIG reports and patient concerns as exceptions, not the rule," said VA health official Thomas Lynch.
The White House says President Obama found the report "extremely troubling."
So far, President Obama has stuck by Secretary Shinseki saying he has confidence the former Army general can fix the problems.