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Delays found in clinic's treatment of US veterans

WASHINGTON--U.S. military veterans were subjected to “significant delays” at a government clinic where up to 1,700 of them may have been kept off waitlists, said an inspector's report released Wednesday.

With a swirling scandal over treatment of wounded warriors growing into a political timebomb for U.S. President Barack Obama, the Veterans Administration launched a rapid response probe into allegations staff manipulated scheduling data and that veterans may have died waiting for treatment at a VA clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.

“While our work is not complete, we have substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care at this medical facility,” the preliminary report by the VA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) found.

Obama was briefed on the findings and the president considered them “extremely troubling,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

The VA “should take immediate steps to reach out to veterans who are currently waiting to schedule appointments and make sure that they are getting better access to care now,” he added.

Concern centered on accusations that many veterans were shunted onto “secret wait lists,” with staff at VA facilities understating wait times for appointments.

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