Last year, reports of lengthy wait lists nationwide plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the problem has only been getting worse, department officials told The New York Times. The number of veterans waiting for health care longer than one month is 50 percent higher than it was last year, when veterans' deaths in Phoenix prompted an FBI criminal investigation.
Now, with a $3 billion budget shortfall, the department is considering furloughs and hiring freezes, which could further affect veterans' care.
"Something has to give," Sloan D. Gibson, the VA's deputy secretary, told the Times. "We can't leave this as the status quo. We are not meeting the needs of veterans, and veterans are signaling that to us by coming in for additional care, and we can’t deliver it as timely as we want to."
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