Sen. Bill Nelson calls for changes to the VA system



GAINESVILLE, Fla. - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida stood outside a Veterans Affairs hospital in Gainesville Friday and demanded changes to the VA system.
Nelson said he learned that two people died while waiting to get appointments at the hospital.
"I think heads ought to roll," said Nelson. "In the VA medical system, nationwide, something is wrong."
Nelson said he is calling for the firing of senior managers within the VA medical system following a scandal involving secret lists and delayed care that was brought to light in Phoenix.
"When we hear the examples, in the Phoenix VA hospital, of 40 people having died because of their consults being too long, then the system is broken," said Nelson.
Officials are investigating 26 VA facilities.
An audit of the facility in Gainesville found a paper list of 200 patients not entered into the computer system because of outdated software.
Nelson said that in a two-year period, 2010-2011, four patients at the Gainesville facility were not seen within the target 60-day period. Two of those patients died.
Nelson said there is a "lack of confidence" in the VA health care system.
Nelson said there was one death in Florida in the last year, specifically because of a delay. He said that death was in West Palm Beach.
Nelson said he is co-sponsoring legislation that would make it much easier to fire those who he said are part of the problem with the VA.

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