Rob Nabors, a top aide to President Obama, will travel to Phoenix Wednesday as part of the administration's investigation of wrongdoing at a VA hospital there that may have led to the deaths of several veterans.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that Nabors will meet with the acting director of the Phoenix facility, Steve Young, who was appointed after Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki placed the director and two other employees on administrative leave. The president dispatched Nabors, a deputy chief of staff, to work with Shinseki on a review of patient access to care. He is also meeting with several veterans groups Tuesday ahead of the trip.
The Phoenix VA Health Care System is under question after reports that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care there because the hospital sought to cover up the long wait times by creating a secret waiting list and later destroying the evidence.
"The president and the rest of us await the results of those two inquiries," Carney said "He is not at all pleased with some of the allegations and will be extremely unhappy if some of them prove to be true. He will wait for the facts and the investigations, as we all should, and then insist that action be taken and people be held accountable."
President Obama has not spoken out about the scandal at VA hospitals - which is reported to extend beyond Phoenix - since being asked about it during a trip to Asia last month. At his briefing Monday, Carney said he was sure the nation would hear from Mr. Obama "soon."
The White House, meanwhile, has backed Shinseki's decision to stay in his position and conduct a nationwide review of VA medical centers. Shinseki and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reportedly met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon.
The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans group, as well as several lawmakers have called on Shinseki to resign.