VA Releases Audit Amid Scandal - WBAY

VA Releases Audit Amid Scandal

Updated:
A Wisconsin VA hospital is flagged for further review following a nationwide audit by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The audit released Monday is in response to a scandal concerning delays in patient scheduling and access exposed last month in Phoenix.

According the VA audit, more than 57,000 veterans around the country are still waiting for initial medical appointments at VA hospitals and clinics 90 days or more after requesting them.

An additional 64,000 vets who enrolled in the VA health care system over the past ten years have never had appointments.

And 13-percent of VA schedulers report supervisors telling them to falsify appointment dates to make waiting times appear shorter.

Wisconsin has three VA hospitals: in Madison, Milwaukee and Tomah. The audit found the average wait time for new patients differed dramatically.

At the medical center in Tomah, the average wait time is 17 days.

In Milwaukee, new patients wait just under 24 days to see a doctor.

But in Madison, the audit discovered new patients are waiting nearly 51 days. That's more than three times longer than the VA's 14-day target for wait times, and one of the reasons the hospital is under further investigation.

Overall, the audit shows 525 Wisconsin veterans have been waiting more than 3 months for medical appointments, and 405 who enrolled for VA health care over the past decade have never been seen by a doctor.

In response to the audit findings, Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson stated
, "...This data shows the extent of the systemic problems we face, problems that demand immediate actions. As of today, VA has contacted 50,000 Veterans across the country to get them off of wait lists and into clinics. Veterans deserve to have full faith in their VA, and they will keep hearing from us until all our Veterans receive the care they've earned." 

The VA has announced a series of actions to improve patient access and quality of care. Read those steps at http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2552
.

You can read details of the VA audit at http://www.va.gov/health/access-audit.asp.
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