- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - A top White House aide conducting a review of the embattled Veterans Affairs Department visited the Cincinnati VA hospital on Thursday.

Rob Nabors, President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff, arrived at the Cincinnati hospital Thursday afternoon and walked inside without answering questions from reporters being kept behind a wrought-iron fence outside the hospital.

The visit is part of Nabors’ review of veterans’ access to health care. He will share his findings with Obama and acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson later this month.

VA spokeswoman Whitney Smith declined repeated requests from The Associated Press to speak with Nabors on Thursday or join the tour, saying all events were closed to media members.

Nabors was expected to meet with veterans, doctors, and leaders at the hospital, and tour the facility, said Denise Kerr, a hospital spokeswoman.

Nabors is expected to make a similar visit to the Columbus VA hospital on Friday.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, will also tour the Columbus facility and hold a town hall with veterans on Friday in a separate event planned before Nabors’ announced his visit Wednesday.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned last week amid a growing scandal over patient delays and allegations of falsified waiting lists at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide. A federal investigation found broad problems throughout the veterans’ health care system, which provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans a year.

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