WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration and Congress are moving quickly to respond to a growing political firestorm over reports of treatment delays and falsified records at veterans hospitals nationwide.
The top official for veterans' health care resigned Friday, and House Republicans scheduled a vote next week on legislation to give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki greater authority to dismiss or demote senior executives and administrators at the agency and its 152 medical centers.
Reports of long waits for appointments and processing benefit applications have plagued VA for years.
Officials have shortened benefits backlogs, but allegations of preventable deaths that may be linked to delays at the Phoenix VA hospital have triggered an election-year uproar. A former clinic director said up to 40 veterans died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix hospital.