Acting VA secretary says agency has contacted all 1,700 vets left off Phoenix waiting list

The Associated Press

Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson leaves the White House in Washington, Friday, May 30, 2014, after being named by President Barack Obama to run the Veterans Affairs Department on an interim basis while Obama searches for a replacement for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki who resigned Friday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new Veterans Affairs chief says his department has reached out to all 1,700 veterans kept off an official waiting list at the troubled Phoenix hospital.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said the department is discussing individual medical needs with the veterans and has begun scheduling appointments. A report by the VA's inspector general last week said 1,700 Phoenix area veterans were "at risk of being lost or forgotten" after being kept off the official waiting list.

Gibson called resolving the issue a top priority and said the department will continue reaching out to veterans nationwide to improve their access to care.

Gibson took over the VA Friday after Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned under fire. Gibson met Wednesday with a group of veteran service organizations.

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