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Toomey Wants To Let US Veterans Sue Over Long Waits For Treatment

By Pat Loeb

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (CBS) -- US senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is weighing in on the scandal over long wait times in the Veterans Administration medical system (see related stories).

Now, he is helping sponsor a bill that would allow veterans to sue for harm caused by delayed treatment.

Toomey says the "VA Accountability Act" would reduce obstacles so veterans could file malpractice suits more easily.  He says he's also working on a bill that would prevent harm to veterans from long waits for treatment.

"(It would) enable a veteran who feels that he's not getting access in a timely fashion or he's not satisfied with the quality of care to go somewhere else at government expense, so that our veterans get first-quality care, first in line," he said today.

Toomey is responding to a furor over altered records that hid long waits for veterans in Phoenix, Ariz., some of which may have been fatal.   He spoke at the Willow Grove VFW, where disabled vet Harry Taylor said his own experience with the VA has been good:  "Very good."

But Taylor says he supports efforts to improve the VA.

"These guys are coming back in terrible shape. They need VA help," he said.

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