U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce says the discussion about patient access and the quality of care within the Veterans Affairs health care system needs to be public and more transparent.
The New Mexico Republican, state officials and veterans met Friday with administrators for the VA system in New Mexico, where more than 1,000 patients had to wait three months or longer for initial appointments and 21 veterans died while on the waiting list.
The VA refused to let reporters into Friday's meeting and declined requests by Pearce's staff to record the discussion. Still, the congressman says the meeting marked a first step toward identifying what works and what needs fixing within New Mexico's VA.
Some veterans who accompanied Pearce said they have had no problems getting appointments. Others talked about long wait times and uncompassionate care.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.