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Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson Visits Phoenix

Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Sloan Gibson, addresses the press after visiting with medical center staff and administrators.
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Sloan Gibson, addresses the press after visiting with medical center staff and administrators.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson was in Phoenix on Thursday, visiting with staff and administrators of the local VA Medical Center. He announced steps to reform a system that’s been troubled with accusations of delayed care and manipulated data.

This was Gibson's first field visit since taking over for Eric Shinseki. He says he’ll release the wait time data from all VA medical centers on Monday as well as a field audit covering hundreds of other locations.

Gibson also says that his staff reached out to each of the 1,700 Arizona vets who had been left off official VA waiting lists. He says 18 of those vets have died.

This is not what our veterans deserve," said Gibson. "This will not stand. I will not be part of some effort to maintain the status quo here.”

Gibson could not confirm their deaths were related to delayed care. But he says waiting for any extended time is unacceptable.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.