Illinois Republican US Senator Mark Kirk is backing federal legislation that would provide more money for an expanded investigation of veterans' hospitals. The inquiry was prompted by allegations staff used secret lists to conceal long patient wait times for appointments at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. Similar allegations surfaced at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in suburban Chicago. The Illinois hospital denies any secret list exists. A US Senate Appropriations subcommittee yesterday amended a bill to provide another $5 million to the VA's Office of the Inspector General for the investigation. Kirk says the review will now include all five Illinois VA hospitals to "ensure that no Illinois veteran will ever be subject to the misconduct of a secret wait list."
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