About 900 Ill. veterans requested, didn't get care

About 900 Ill. veterans requested, didn't get care

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(Veteran's Health/Flickr) (Veteran's Health/Flickr)
CHICAGO (Associated Press) - A new audit shows nearly 900 veterans have requested appointments at Illinois' Veterans Administration hospitals in the past decade but not received them.

The Veterans Affairs Department released findings Monday of a national audit on quality of care and wait times. It follows allegations that 40 patients died awaiting care at a Phoenix hospital where employees kept a secret waiting list to cover up delays.

The audit shows 494 new patients requested an appointment at the VA hospital in Marion, Illinois but no appointment was scheduled.

It also shows the average wait time for a primary care appointment was 33 days for patients at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital outside Chicago and 54 days in Danville.

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is calling for the Veterans Administration to release more information about wait times and the quality of care at its Illinois hospitals.

The Illinois Republican and former Navy reservist says his office learned early Monday that some Illinois facilities were flagged for further review following a VA audit.

Kirk says the limited information he received on the audits backs up outside reports he's received from whistleblowers at those facilities.

The audits come as a House committee is set to hold hearings Monday about the widening scandal.

Kirk is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation that would make changes at the VA and provide veterans more flexibility in where they obtain health care.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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