ATLANTA - President Barrack Obama is taking aim at VA hospitals under fire across the country, including Atlanta’s facility.
Over the last year, Channel 2 Action News has uncovered mismanagement and bad care linked to patient deaths at VA hospitals in Georgia and around the country.
Speaking out Wednesday about allegations of misconduct in Arizona, the president said he's ordered an intensive review of the Veterans Affairs.
“Once we know the facts I assure you if there is misconduct it will be punished,” the president said.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant talked to Georgia lawmakers who are again demanding the president remove the VA director.
The president promised accountability and punishment if the claims out of Arizona pan out, but is standing behind VA Secretary Eric Shinseki for now.
Still, one congressman feels the problems we and others have uncovered are too widespread for the secretary to stay.
"The first person we need to fire is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs," Rep. David Scott on the floor of the House on Wednesday afternoon. "I respect (Shinseki’s) sacrifice. I respect what he did, but it's under his watch that we're in this situation in the hospital."
More than two dozen VA facilities are now under investigation amid allegations VA employees cooked the appointment books, and as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care in Phoenix, Arizona.
"If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period," Obama said during a news conference Wednesday.
But Scott first said Shinseki needed to go in an interview with Channel 2 Action news last July.
Months earlier, our investigation exposed federal reports that blamed mismanagement at the Atlanta VA medical center for three mental health patient deaths.
And Scott used our more recent reporting on treatment delays and preventable deaths within the entire VA system as ammo in Wednesday’s demand.
"Cox Media, WSB television down in Atlanta, went all over this country. One billion dollars the taxpayers are paying," Scott said.
The cost we calculated from the department's own data to settle or payoff judgments in thousands of malpractice claims, including nearly 1,200, since 2000, linked to patient deaths.
"We don't have time for any more investigations. The reports are in," Scott said.
Wednesday, Channel 2 Action News confirmed VA inspector general investigators were at the Atlanta VA Medical Center last Friday as part of the agency's investigation into extended wait times for patients and the impact.