- Associated Press - Friday, July 18, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s two senators are urging Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson to hire a permanent director for Albuquerque’s VA hospital.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich said in a letter Thursday the hiring is needed in order to gain the trust of veterans and address serious problems with scheduling.

The letter comes as the VA deals with a national outcry over reports of long delays for treatment and medical appointments and of veterans dying while on waiting lists.

A new audit of Albuquerque’s Veterans Affairs hospital released Thursday shows there were 353 veterans on the electronic waiting list, down from more than 1,040 a month ago. The list includes new patients for whom appointments cannot be scheduled within 90 days.