AP: 'Little Headway' Made in Fight to Shorten Wait Times For Veterans
A shocking new report from the Associated Press has found that the Department of Veterans Affairs has made little headway in improving wait times at care facilities.
Jenna Lee reported on "Happening Now" that since the summer, the number of medical appointments delayed 30 to 90 days has largely stayed flat.
She also said the number of appointments that take longer than 90 days to complete has nearly doubled.
The Department of Veterans Affairs instituted major reforms after many sick veterans were getting sicker while waiting on lists to be treated at VA facilities last year.
Government data shows that the number of sick veterans facing long wait times at the VA facilitates has not decreased at all.
Read more from the Associated Press:
Nearly 894,000 appointments completed at VA medical facilities from Aug. 1 to Feb. 28 failed to meet the health system's timeliness goal, which calls for patients to be seen within 30 days.
That means roughly one in 36 patient visits involved a delay of at least a month. Nearly 232,000 of those appointments involved a delay of longer than 60 days.
A closer look reveals deep geographic disparities.
Many delay-prone facilities are clustered in a handful of Southern states, often in areas with a strong military presence, a rural population and patient growth that has outpaced the VA's sluggish planning process.
Of the 75 clinics and hospitals with the highest percentage of patients waiting more than 30 days for care, 12 are in Tennessee or Kentucky, 11 are in eastern North Carolina and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, 11 are in Georgia or southern Alabama and six are in north Florida.
Seven more were clustered in the region between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Those 47 clinics and hospitals represent just a fraction of the more than 1,000 VA facilities nationwide, but they were responsible for more than one in five of the appointments that took longer than 60 days to complete.
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