New VA secretary tours troubled Phoenix hospital - Tucson News Now

New VA secretary tours troubled Phoenix hospital

McDonald speaking at a press conference at the Phoenix VA on Friday McDonald speaking at a press conference at the Phoenix VA on Friday
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The nation's new Secretary of Veterans Affairs promises to regain trust as he tours the Phoenix hospital at the center of the patient care delay scandal that rocked the nation.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald got a firsthand look on Friday at the VA hospital that ignited the scandal over patient care delays.

Reports that dozens of patients there died while waiting to see a doctor and that employees covered up long wait times touched of a series of investiagtions into veterans care.

The former VA secretary was forced to resign. McDonald was named in July to replace him.

“We have a lot of work to do and a lot of work to get done,” he said. “But we're going to come out of this process better able to meet the needs of our veterans more consistently and more timely. We're going to take this crisis, this challenging moment in time, and turn it into an opportunity.”

McDonald faced a barrage of questions from the news media, many highly critical of the situation at the Phoenix VA. There are allegations that veterans died waiting for care and that records were falsified.

The Tucson VA has not been associated with the Phoenix VA's issues. However, McDonald acknowledges that throughout the system trust in the VA has been damaged.

“What we've got to do in this organization is create an organization with one team and one dream and that's about taking care of veterans. And we've got to regain trust in the organization and trust with the American public. That's what we're going to be about,” he said.

Secretary McDonald says he has a 90-day plan being implemented throughout the VA system, changing everything from the culture on up.

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