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Veterans' Groups Say VA Must Be Held Responsible

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Leaders of the country’s top veteran-service organizations stressed to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Thursday that those responsible for the widespread problems with the VA health system need to be held responsible, according to sources who attended the private meeting.

Heads of 23 military and veterans organizations attended the meeting at the VA to express their commitment to veterans’ timely access to quality medical care, sources said. They also told Shinseki that those at fault for delays in treatment and manipulating records need to be held accountable.

American Legion, the largest veterans group in the country, has called for Shinseki’s resignation, while others have refrained as the investigation continues.

The embattled VA chief told the veterans that the newly discovered problems in veterans’ hospitals are “reprehensible” and pledged to immediately work to get treatment for those waiting for primary care appointments, according to those in the meeting.

Pressure for Shinseki’s resignation has intensified since the VA inspector general released a report Wednesday that supplemented claims veterans had died while awaiting treatment. Barely 24 hours after it was released, a bipartisan mix of more than 100 members of Congress had called for Shinseki to step down.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday would not say whether President Obama still has confidence in Shinseki. He cited Obama’s comments last week when the president pledged to expeditiously fix the problems and commended Shinseki for his work in other aspects of the job.

-- NBC's Andrew Rafferty contributed to this report.

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