Obama: Any misconduct at VA hospitals will be punished

Obama: Any misconduct at VA hospitals will be punished
President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, following his meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Seeking to head off a growing furor over veterans' health care, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that allegations of misconduct at Veterans Affairs hospitals are "dishonorable" and will be not be tolerated by his administration.

"I will not stand for it - not as commander in chief but also not as an American," Obama said following an Oval Office meeting with embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The Obama administration is under mounting pressure from Capitol Hill to address troubling allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals. The VA Inspector General's office said late Tuesday that 26 facilities are being investigated nationwide - up from 10 just last week - including a Phoenix hospital where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for treatment and staff there kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care.

Obama said that anybody found to have to have manipulated records will be held accountable. But he appealed for patience as his deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, undertakes a review of VA policies, which is expected to be finished next week.

The president spoke hours before the House was scheduled to vote later Wednesday on a bill that would grant the VA secretary more authority to fire or demote senior executives. The White House has said it shares the goals of the House measure - to ensure accountability at the VA - but has concerns about some of the details.