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A NATION'S SHAME: 57,436 U.S. veterans waited 90 days -- or more for medical treatment, report says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/10/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More than 120,000 veterans experienced long wait times, VA audit reveals

If word reaches Uncle Sam, he'll be seething mad. According to a new report, 57,436 U.S. veterans waited in excess of 90 days or more for medical treatment. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says that 121,305 veterans have either experienced long waits for health care appointments at VA facilities or not had appointments scheduled at all.

The agency says it will abandon a two-week scheduling goal for appointments after finding that it was 'not attainable,' citing poor planning coupled with a growing demand for VA services.

The agency says it will abandon a two-week scheduling goal for appointments after finding that it was "not attainable," citing poor planning coupled with a growing demand for VA services.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/10/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Veterans Administration, long wait times, audit


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to an internal audit conducted from May 12 to June 3, the VA found 57,436 new veteran patients had been waiting 90 days or more for an appointment. Not only that, it found 63,869 patients over the past 10 years had requested appointments that have never been scheduled.

It gets even worse. Thirteen percent of VA schedulers reported getting instructions from supervisors or others to falsify appointment dates in order to meet on-time performance goals. About eight percent of schedulers said they used alternatives to an official electronic waiting list, often under pressure to make waiting times appear more favorable.

Light up the darkness -- by going here --

The agency says it will abandon a two-week scheduling goal for appointments after finding that it was "not attainable," citing poor planning coupled with a growing demand for VA services.

The agency declared that the 2011 decision by senior VA officials with a 14-day goal and then basing bonuses on meeting the target "an organizational leadership failure."

In response, VA officials have contacted 50,000 veterans across the country to get them off waiting lists and into clinics, acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson says. They are now in the process of contacting an additional 40,000 veterans.

The results of the audit is the first nationwide look at the VA network. This glaring oversight was brought to national attention after reports two months ago of patients dying while awaiting appointments and of cover-ups at the Phoenix VA center.

Investigating 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics in more than 3,770 interviews, the audit found long wait times across the U.S. for patients seeking their first appointments with both primary care doctors and specialists.

Legislation is being written in both the House and Senate to allow more veterans, including those enrolled in Medicare or the military's TRICARE program, to get treatment from outside providers if they can't get timely VA appointments.

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