Sen. Kirk wants probe of new VA hospital claims - FOX 32 News Chicago

Sen. Kirk wants probe of new VA hospital claims

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk said it's time for major change at the top of Hines VA Hospital in west suburban Maywood. The Illinois Republican said he's outraged by reports that Hines administrators racked up millions of dollars in bonuses, while veterans often waited weeks to get appointments.

On Thursday when FOX 32 News went to Hines Hospital, we found Frank Pajak. He was supposed to see three doctors for three separate appointments. He said he had arrived before 9 a.m. and by 2 p.m., he had only seen one of those doctors.

"We had to blow the other two off," said Pajak.

And he's far from alone.

"I was trying to get a lump in my leg looked at. It took a year to do that before they finally did. It was giving me a lot of pain," said Bruce Brorsen.

"I hate it but this is the insurance I got," said Eric Jackson.

It's stories like these that prompted Kirk to ask the Inspector General for Veteran's Affairs to open an investigation into wait times at Hines. Kirk also wants to know why Hines administrators have been paid $16 million in bonuses since 2011.

"It is my fear that there is a pervasive and systemic culture of bureaucratic dysfunction within the VA," wrote Kirk in a statement.

The heat is also being turned up in Washington after reports of secret waiting lists at another VA hospital, which may have resulted in deaths.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has promised a full investigation within two weeks.

"This is not about just one person. This isn't about the secretary. It's about the entire system underneath him," said Rep. John Boehner.

Some people at Hines are pleased with the care they're receiving, but feel as though the country has turned its back on their sacrifice.

"It's tough, because we served our country, and all we're asking is for somebody to take care of us after we did our job," said Jose Garcia.

A Hines spokesperson said in a statement that the VA began a criminal investigation last week, and if there were secret wait lists and scheduling delays, employees will be held responsible.

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