TIMELINE

Events leading to Phoenix VA investigation

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

For more than a month, CBS 5 News has been on the forefront of reporting the growing problem at the Phoenix VA medical centers.

Things came to a head when a retired doctor, who spent 24 years caring for veterans, blew the whistle on what was going on.

"We have the names of 23 people who died while waiting for care on approximately 45 potential victims," said Dr. Sam Foote. "We knew what was going on. We knew they were faking the numbers, OK, but we didn't appreciate early on what the actual consequences were. It was when we learned that the patients were actually dying on these two lists ... that was the breaking point for the most part."

Foote first sent a letter in October of 2013 to the VA Office of the Inspector General.

In mid-December, they reached out and contacted Foote. They also sent a team to the Valley to investigate.

Foote sent another letter to the Office of the Inspector General in January.

In April, Congress and much of the nation got wind of the problems at the Phoenix VA.

Several lawmakers, many from Arizona, immediately called for congressional hearings on the Phoenix VA.

More whistle blowers spoke out against the VA. Days after Foote went on TV, a second whistle blower gave her first interview to CBS 5 News. She claimed her concerns were falling on deaf ears and have been for a long time.

"It's incredibly dysfunctional," the doctor said, who wished to remain anonymous. "I have seen evidence of things covered up in the past and I had no reason to believe it wouldn't happen again."

She also claimed if inspections were known in advance, problems were covered up.

On May 1, top administrators at the Phoenix VA were put on leave.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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