KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The Details Of The VA Waiting Game At Specific Locations Around The Country

Media outlets scrutinize how local Veterans Affairs health facilities fared in a national audit of 731 VA hospitals and clinics.  

Des Moines Register: VA Auditors Don’t Flag Iowa Hospitals In Wait-time Scandal
Federal auditors who checked VA hospitals and clinics for signs of waiting-list manipulation are not recommending follow-up investigations at the agency's Iowa facilities, a new report shows. The auditors visited 731 VA hospitals and clinics nationally because of outrage over reports that VA administrators hid the fact that dozens of veterans had died while awaiting appointments in Phoenix, Ariz., and elsewhere. The auditors, who went over how patient appointments were scheduled at each site, recommended follow-up investigations at 132 sites. The auditors visited the Iowa sites, but did not recommend further investigations there (Leys, 6/9).

The Associated Press: Wisconsin’s Highest Average New VA Patient Wait In Madison
The average wait for a new patient to see a primary care doctor is nearly 51 days at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Madison, nearly three times the VA's own target, data released Monday as part of a wide-ranging audit showed. The wait for new patients in Madison is the longest for anyone seeking care at Wisconsin's three major VA medical centers, the nationwide audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics revealed (Bauer, 6/9).

The Associated Press: Michigan Veterans’ Centers Have Lengthy Waits
Newly enrolled patients seeking care at five Michigan medical centers for veterans wait an average of three to four weeks before getting an appointment, according to federal audit results released Monday. The delays in some cases are more than twice as long as the 14-day target set by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011, which the agency now says is unrealistic because of surging demand for services. Still, the Michigan facilities did considerably better than the worst performers nationwide, where average waits drag on for months (6/10).

The San Francisco Chronicle: Veterans In S.F. Wait Nearly A Month For Medical Care
New patients seeking care at the San Francisco VA Medical Center are waiting an average of 29.7 days for their first appointment with a primary care specialist - more than twice the goal of the Department of Veterans Affairs but still shorter than many VA centers in California and the rest of the country. A nationwide report released Monday by the VA in the aftermath of a patient-scheduling scandal shed light on the depth of the problems inside the agency. It said more than 57,000 new patients have been waiting at least 90 days for their initial appointments, a total that represents about 90 percent of all new patients (Colliver, 6/9).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: New Patients At McGuire Wait 72 Days
New patients waited an average of 72 days for primary care appointments at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which has been flagged for a more thorough review by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Established patients got appointments much quicker — waiting only about four days — and new mental health patients got appointments in about 36 days. The wait times at McGuire are in a national report released Monday that contains summary data on audits of 731 veterans facilities (Smith, 6/9).

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