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Arizona congressional candidate urges hearing on Phoenix VA hospital

PHOENIX — A local lawmaker called for a special hearing Friday after the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee made some startling comments about the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix.

The chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller, said that as many as 40 patients at the hospital may have died because of prolonged waits for treatment at the hospital. He also claimed the hospital keeps two sets of lists to conceal the waits that patients have to endure for doctor’s appointments and treatment.

Maricopa County Supervisor and congressional candidate Mary Rose Wilcox has sent a letter to Miller, asking him to come to Phoenix to conduct a special hearing on the matter.

“You need to pay attention,” she said she wrote in the letter. “You need to hold a hearing where people can tell you exactly how they feel. We must get recommendations, improvements, and most importantly, appropriate the dollars to change this system.”

Wilcox said that if the allegations against the hospital are true, they’re unacceptable.

“Eighty-one thousand patients go there, they have a budget of $438 million and they still can’t take care of patients the way that they should,” Wilcox said. “This is outrageous, and should never, never be tolerated.”

Wilcox said she had an “abrupt” conversation Friday morning with Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman, telling her to “get to the bottom of this” and announce how it will be fixed.