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VA says it has contacted all veterans on Phoenix hospital’s ‘secret list’

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ new interim chief announced Wednesday that the agency has reached out to all of the approximately 1,700 former troops that a Phoenix VA hospital placed on unofficial wait lists that hid treatment delays.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said at his first meeting with veterans groups that the department called 1,586 former troops and sent letters through the U.S. Postal Service to those who had not provided phone numbers.

Gibson said the VA reached out to those veterans to discuss their medical needs and to begin scheduling appointments. He plans to visit the Phoenix clinic Thursday, when he is also scheduled to outline additional actions from the department.

An interim report last week from the VA’s inspector general substantiated recent allegations that VA clinics across the country manipulated their scheduling records to cover up treatment delays, in part to improve their chances of securing bonuses.

“Getting this right is our top priority, and taking care of the veterans in Phoenix is a good place to start,” Gibson said. “The department will also continue reaching out to veterans nationwide to accelerate their access to care, and that is the message I intend to deliver in Phoenix and across the country.”

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