New Report Focuses Attention On Wait Times At El Paso VA Facility
The document, which was commissioned by Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, found wait times as long as 71 days for veterans who sought mental health treatment at the facility. This finding was very different from official statistics.
Los Angeles Times: Veterans’ Wait Times At El Paso VA Are Latest to Come Under Scrutiny
Veterans have been forced to wait more than two months on average for mental health treatment at the El Paso VA facility, and more than a third never received it, according to a survey released Wednesday as lawmakers in Washington worked to bridge partisan differences on legislation to fix the larger mess within the Department of Veterans Affairs (Hennessy-Fiske and Simon, 6/4).
Politico: VA Scandal Spreads To West Texas
The scandal that has engulfed veteran’s health care has spread to West Texas, with a new report documenting wait times of as long as 71 days for some vets in El Paso that are “significantly different” from official statistics. The report, commissioned by Rep. Beto O’Rourke and released Wednesday, took an independent look at a hospital where the quality of care is evidently good, but access to it is not (Ewing, 6/4).
The Texas Tribune: El Paso VA Wrong About Wait Times
U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Wednesday that according to a study commissioned by his office, it takes El Paso veterans seeking mental health care more than two months to see a provider, and as many as a third go without treatment completely. The data contradicts what O’Rourke, D-El Paso, said he has been told for more than a year by officials with the El Paso Veterans Health Administration. According to them, he said, between 85 and 100 percent of new veterans see a provider within two weeks (Aguilar, 6/4).
Meanwhile, this news came from New Mexico --
The Associated Press: Thousands Of Veterans Left Without Doctor in NM
Officials at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Albuquerque say as many as 3,000 patients were assigned to a doctor who didn't actually see them, a New Mexico congresswoman said Wednesday. The officials told U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., that the practice of putting patients without primary care doctors into a separate pool was part of an effort to balance demand and a shortage of doctors at a facility that handled nearly 660,000 outpatient visits last year (Bryan, 6/4).
And, in other VA-related news --
Modern Healthcare: Hospitals Concerned About Reimbursement As They Prepare For Influx Of Vets
Hospitals around the country face a tough dilemma: Does their duty to serve U.S. military veterans who are unable to get timely care at Veterans Affairs Department health care facilities outweigh the headache of dealing with the VA's relatively low and slow payments? For some, the answer is no. Under the VA's new Accelerating Care Initiative, VA facilities must offer a referral to a non-VA provider for any new patients who are on a wait list or have an appointment more than 30 days out. The first referrals were expected to start May 30. Veterans will only be able to seek VA-paid care at private clinics and hospitals in areas where the agency's capacity to expand its own services is limited. The VA did not provide an estimate of how many patients might be referred under the policy (Dickson, 6/4).