News

Audit finds 100K vets awaiting VA appointments

Audit finds 100K vets awaiting VA appointments

VETERANS:A pileup of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Roanoke, Virginia, is shown in this undated handout photo. Photo: Reuters

By David Lawder and Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said on Monday that around 100,000 veterans are experiencing long waits for health care appointments at VA facilities, with more than half of these waiting 90 days or more.

In results of an internal audit ordered as the scandal over deadly VA wait times exploded last month, the agency said it found that schedule misreporting was widespread. Of the 731 facilities surveyed, it found that 76 percent experienced wait time reporting problems.

In the May 12 to June 3 survey, the VA said it found that 57,436 new veteran patients had been waiting 90 days or more for an appointment. And it found that 63,869 patients over the past 10 years had requested appointments that have never been scheduled.

The agency said it was abandoning a two-week scheduling goal for appointments after finding it was “not attainable.”

“This data shows the extent of the systemic problems we face, problems that demand immediate actions,” VA acting Secretary Sloan Gibson said in a statement.

The report made no mention of whether the long wait times had resulted in deaths of veterans. Doctors at VA clinics in Phoenix, where the investigations were first launched, have alleged that some 40 veterans have died while waiting for care.

Gibson, who joined VA in February and took over after the resignation of former Secretary Eric Shinseki, said last week that of the 1,700 veterans in Phoenix whose names were held on secret waiting lists, 18 had died.

The VA said it would take emergency measures to rush medical care to veterans who are waiting, including hiring temporary staff for facilities with the worst backlogs and bringing in mobile medical units to some locations.

(Reporting By David Lawder and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Recent Headlines

7 hours ago in Local

State Museum to Reopen with Governor’s Amendatory Veto

Illinois State Museum

Rauner has amendatorily vetoed a bill lawmakers approved a few months ago that would reopen the museum and all its satellite locations.

7 hours ago in Local

Woman Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter of Child Sentenced

Cammie Kelly

Cammie Kelly is going to prison for four years.

8 hours ago in Local

Students to Rauner: Don’t Close Our National Guard Armory

Delavan High School Students

Students from the Peoria area showed up at the Capitol in an effort to save their local National Guard Armory from closing.

8 hours ago in Local

Rauner Touts Government Consolidation

rauner

The proposals include legislation allowing voters to decide whether to dissolve units of local government.

10 hours ago in Local

Artifacts to be Removed from Rock Island Arsenal Collection

Rock Island Arsenal

About 3,200 artifacts will be removed from the Rock Island Arsenal Museum's collection amid an upcoming reduction in staff.