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Top VA health official resigns amid firestorm over delayed care, falsified records

WASHINGTON — The top official for veterans health care has resigned amid a firestorm over long appointment waits, treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals.

Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki says he has accepted the resignation of Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health care at the VA. It comes the day after both men were grilled by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Whistleblowers say there were efforts to cover up the deaths of up to 40 veterans while they were awaiting appointments at the department’s giant medical center in Phoenix.

Shinseki says most vets are satisfied with the quality of care they get, but more must be done to “improve timely access to that care.”

Petzel announced in September he planned to retire in 2014.

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