Audit: Over 57,000 Patients Awaiting Initial VA Visits - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Audit: Over 57,000 Patients Awaiting Initial VA Visits

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LOCAL IDAHO AUDIT REPORT:

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A new audit from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows that most Idaho veterans receiving care at the Boise VA Medical Center wait less than a month for their first appointment. But the average wait time for those who need to see a specialist is 52 days.

The wide-ranging audit, released Monday, is the first nationwide look at the VA network after an outcry arose over long wait times and cover-ups at the Phoenix VA center.

In Boise, about 90 percent of the more than 15,000 veterans awaiting appointments at the Boise center are scheduled within a month. That's less than the national average of 96 percent.

Established Boise patients are seen more quickly, averaging a 7-day wait for specialists and about a day for primary care and mental health doctors.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


NATIONAL AUDIT REPORT:


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Veterans Affairs Department says more than 57,000 patients are still waiting for initial medical appointments at VA hospitals and clinics 90 days or more after requesting them. An additional 64,000 who enrolled in the VA health care system over the past 10 years have never had appointments.
    
The department says an audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics found that the agency's complicated appointment process created confusion among scheduling clerks and supervisors. The audit says a 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA has since abandoned that goal.
    
The audit released Monday says 13 percent of VA schedulers reported supervisors telling them to falsify appointment dates to make waiting times appear shorter.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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