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posted: 6/14/2014 1:01 AM

Kirk calls on VA official to declare emergency

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  • Mark Kirk

      Mark Kirk

 
Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is calling for accelerated access to doctors for veterans facing extreme wait times for treatment within the Veterans Affairs system.

The Illinois Republican sent a letter Friday to Sloan Gibson, the acting VA secretary, asking him to use his authority to declare a state of emergency to open up non-agency health care to veterans enduring delays.

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Kirk appeared in Chicago with retired Army Pvt. Michael Swan, who says he's been waiting more than a year to see a specialist.

A government audit shows more than 57,000 veterans have been waiting at least three months for their first appointments at Veterans Affairs medical centers. The VA lifted a goal of 14 days to get an appointment, after investigators determined workers falsified records to cover up delays.

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