- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald says the agency is significantly increasing its referrals of veterans to private doctors following a scandal over long patient waits and falsified appointment records at many VA hospitals and clinics.

Speaking Wednesday at the American Veterans national convention, McDonald also said his department was working to shorten the time it takes to hire more VA doctors, nurses and clerks.

McDonald told the AMVETS that the VA has made more than 830,000 referrals in the past two months for veterans to see private doctors - a 25 percent increase over the same period a year ago. He said the increase in referrals has resulted in veterans getting a million more appointments with private doctors.

McDonald took over as VA secretary two weeks ago.

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