President addresses VA health care probe

26 facilities under investigation

SAN DIEGO - President Obama has promised to get to the bottom of a scandal that started at the VA health care facility in Phoenix and has now spread to 26 VA centers nationwide.

"San Diego is not part of that investigation," said Jeff Gering, the director of VA health care in San Diego. "We had an independent audit this week of our major facilities in La Jolla, Oceanside and Mission Valley and they found no cases of so-called gaming the system."

Facilities under investigation reportedly gamed the system or altered the books to hide wait times.

"If that is true, it is dishonorable and disgraceful and I will not tolerate it," said President Obama at a news conference at the White House.

San Diego has the highest concentration of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans anywhere and the VA treats upwards of 75,000 patients a year. While not perfect, veterans did give San Diego fairly high marks.

"There's a problem sometimes trying to get an appointment, but when I do the service here is excellent," said Dempster Cherry, a Vietnam Veteran who would rather drive to La Jolla than be treated at a facility closer to his home in Riverside County.

The president wants a preliminary finding on the allegations by next month.

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