VA making some progress on health care appointment times


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The Associated Press recently reported on VA health care appointment times across the U.S. based on the public data VA began posting in June 2014. VA has provided this access-to-care information to Veterans and the public in a way private medical facilities do not, knowing that transparency and accountability would help improve care for Veterans.

While VA still has its challenges to overcome at a number of facilities and some Veterans still wait too long for appointments, the report also highlights the fact that in many parts of the country, VA provides health care that is “as fast, or even faster, than the Veterans could receive in the private sector.”

VA making progress“VA is making progress to ensure Veterans receive the care they need, when they need it, and where they want to be seen,” said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson. “While we still have too many Veterans waiting for care when they desire it, VA has expanded access to care for Veterans across the country, both in VA facilities and in their communities since May 2014. We are working hard to rebuild the trust of those Veterans, their families and the American people. And we are committed to getting it right and providing the timely care Veterans have earned and deserve.”

Nationally, VA completed more than 46 million appointments between May 1, 2014, and February 28, 2015. This represents an increase of 2 million more appointments than were completed during the same time period in 2013-2014. In February 2015, VA completed 97 percent of appointments within 30 days of the Veteran’s preferred date.

VA also uses private sector care when needed, completing approximately 1.5 million appointments per month through doctors and clinics in the community, which represents nearly 20 percent of total appointments. The Veterans Choice Program provides additional flexibility in getting Veterans into outside care.

VA has increased recruiting and hiring of health professionals, bringing on more than 28,000 new employees over the last 10 months.
VA Recruiting and Hiring

While there is work to do across the country, the AP story points out that “[r]elatively few VA facilities in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Coast states reported having significant numbers of patients waiting extended periods for care.”

As part of VA’s Accelerating Access Initiative, health care sites across VA have extended clinic hours and are working to increase space through leasing and short- and long-term construction planning for needed clinic space. All of these measures are resulting in better overall care to Veterans in most parts of the country.

Read more about VA appointment wait times and data reporting here. 

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. gerald ray biers    

    I would like information on stem cell for copd research at the VA.

  2. Harold Brown    

    It doesn’t matter how fast they see you if they just rush through the appointments and fail to give a correct diagnosis.

  3. DannyG    

    Although at times it may not sound like it, I am still a friend & ally to Secretary McDonald. I believe he is trying to help ALL veterans. As far as the VETERANS Administration, overall, I am happy with my care. WAIT TIMES: In the first week of April, I call for an eye appt; the first one available is in JULY! Why does a VAMC with the number of vets that Prescott has have only 1 optometrist? I know the eye clinics are contracted, but come on – we deserve better CARE & SERVICE than that. Thank You for what we do get, for all of the employees that work their tail ends off for us, & Thank You, God, for letting me be born an able-bodied American who was able to serve this great country.

  4. Hermon    

    It’s not going to happen at the new Las Vegas VA Medical Center. In fact people should expect to wait even longer for appointments now that we have an assistant Chief of Staff that feels we have too many healthcare workers, so the plan is not to replace those workers, be they Doctors, RN’s, health techs, CNA’s etc.

  5. dan flesh    

    Bragging that you are actually doing the job vets expect in some places? You know for the tens of thousands of vets who are still waiting and have seen things actually get worse..well this just winds my watch. When you have it ALL fix let me know. This is just your propaganda of the day

  6. frank Zbacnik    

    My VA disabled wife still waits two months for her neurology appointments at Loma Linda VA. Waiting and hoping for the Choice Program to be approved for distance between home and VA Loma Linda. Applied but was denied because of a local VA clinic but that clinic does not provide neurological services or prescriptions for her needs..

  7. Donald Moore    

    wait times are not better in TN. six months wait for appointment

  8. Rick Wingate    

    Why has there not been one word about VA Hospitals having EMERGENCY ROOMS where any Vet can show up and receive immediate care 24/7? NOT ONE WORD FROM ANY NEWS CORP!!!!! Do the news heads not know, OR, would this fact shoot holes into the VA is bad conversation? This makes Me madder and madder every time this fact is ignored. BTW, in 43 years the only times I have problems with the VA Health Care System are the times Congress investigates.
    Rick Wingate, US Army 4-71 to 12-75

Comments are closed.