Obama to visit VA hospital

Published 10:22 am Friday, March 13, 2015

PHOENIX — President Barack Obama is making a first-time visit to the Arizona veterans’ hospital that triggered a national examination into how the government cares for its former service members to get an appraisal on the health system’s progress and its lingering needs.

Obama will travel to Phoenix on Friday to draw attention to the Veterans Affairs Department response to widespread mismanagement where VA workers falsified waiting lists to conceal chronic delays in care.

The visit comes amid questions from lawmakers who say veterans are still not benefiting from changes in the law that were meant to improve their access to care. A month ago, Obama drew criticism for traveling to Phoenix without stopping at the VA hospital.

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Obama, joined by the new VA secretary, Robert McDonald, is expected to meet with veterans, VA employees, veterans’ groups and elected officials, including Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, the two Republican senators from Arizona. McCain has been especially critical of the administration’s response to the VA’s troubles.

The White House defended the VA’s actions to correct problems.