WASHINGTON — More veterans are being allowed to obtain health care at private hospitals and clinics in an effort to improve their treatment following allegations of falsified records and delays in treatment.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Saturday that VA facilities also are enhancing capacity of their clinics so veterans can get care sooner. In cases where officials cannot expand capacity at VA centers, the Department of Veterans Affairs is “increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA care,” he said.

Lawmakers from both parties have pressed for this policy change as the VA confronts allegations about treatment delays and falsified records at VA centers nationwide. The allegations have raised concerns about the administration’s management of a department that has been struggling to keep up with the influx of veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Vietnam veterans needing more care as they age.

The directive announced Saturday should make it easier for veterans to get medical care at non-VA facilities. The VA spent about $4.8 billion last year on medical care at non-VA hospitals and clinics, spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said. That amounts to about 10 percent of health care costs for the Veterans Health Administration. It was not clear how much the new initiative would cost.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has called for the VA to allow more veterans to receive medical care at private hospitals. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said that she was open to the idea of medical care at private hospitals. She said it was unacceptable to have a backlog of patients waiting for permission to go to a federally qualified clinic.