DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News was the only television crew there when one of President Barack Obama's top advisers showed up at a local veteran’s hospital for an accountability session with its leaders.
Rob Nabors is the president's point person on the investigation into a nationwide scheduling scandal that has rocked the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Friday he toured the Atlanta VA Medical Center and the regional benefits office next door.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant tried to question him before and after his meeting with top local brass.
"Mr. Nabors, can we speak with you for a moment? Can you tell us why you felt it important to come here today?" Diamant asked Nabors.
"We want to get out and see as many facilities as we can," Nabors said.
Nabors was in town for private meetings with senior local VA leaders, spending nearly eight hours discussing updates on plans to resolve excessive patient wait times for appointments, benefit backlogs and patient safety issues.
"He needs to be here," Army veteran James Bonds said. "I expect a little bit of red tape, but it shouldn't be quite so hard."
Diamant tried to get an update from Nabors in
"How was your visit with hospital leaders this morning?" Diamant asked Nabors.
"Very interesting," Nabors responded. But that was it.
The president assigned Nabors to the VA after the now-infamous systemwide scheduling scandal exploded onto the national scene last month. Atlanta was one of only a handful of first stops.
"It shows that the White House and President Obama is listening to us. As you know, I spoke directly with him
, and wanted to make sure that the Atlanta is at the top of the list," said U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Georgia.
Scott said the visit should be a wake-up call for Atlanta VA leaders.
"We've got to get to the details here. I want to make sure that nothing is left uncovered," Scott said.
Nabors also met with the leaders of several veteran service organizations and congressional staff at the hospital.
The VA's regional director and the hospital's director wouldn't talk to Diamant about Friday's meetings, but a spokesperson called them productive.