- Associated Press - Friday, June 6, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Believing that problems with Veterans Affairs waiting lists and fraudulent appointments can be solved simply by pouring more money into the problem does a disservice to veterans, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said Friday after a tour of a Columbus VA facility.

Portman, a Republican, is sponsoring legislation that would spend some additional funds to improve mental illness evaluation and treatment for veterans, but he said the waiting list issue is about more than extra funding.

The problem “is not a matter of money, it’s a matter of accountability and management and efficiency,” Portman said during a town hall meeting with veterans and veterans advocates.

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. Portman said he supported Shinseki’s resignation but would have preferred President Barack Obama call for him to step down after the VA’s inspector general released an audit about problems with waiting lists.

Rob Nabors, Obama’s deputy chief of staff, toured the Columbus facility Friday afternoon as part of his review of veterans’ access to health care. He will share his findings with Obama and acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson later this month.

Nabors made a similar visit to the Cincinnati VA Thursday but declined to comment to reporters.

VA spokeswoman Whitney Smith said Nabor’s Columbus tour was closed to the media.

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