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

in Local

School Start Date Bill Tabled in Iowa Legislature

school bus

A bill that would have set "on or after August 23rd" as the school start date in Iowa has been tabled in the Iowa Senate.

in Local

Nebraska Senator Scorned for Comments Against Police

nebraska-state-capital

A Nebraska state senator has called on Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha to apologize for anti-police remarks made during a committee hearing.

in Local

Surface Transportation Board Reform Bill Passes Committee

John Thune 913

South Dakota Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, praised the committee’s bipartisan passage of his Surface Transportation Board (STB) reform bill.

in Local

RiverWalk Benefit to Fund Yankton Sculptures

bridge

There will be few new bartenders in downtown Yankton this evening.

in Local

Day of Calling to Benefit Mount Marty Scholarship Fund

mountmarty

Mount Marty alumni will be getting a phone call today from students and other college officials reaching out for scholarship donations.