Wait Times for VA Healthcare are up to 71 Days
Last week the General Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that found unacceptably long wait times persist at Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) facilities, two years after the waitlist scandal that rocked the VA and led to the passage of the Choice Act.
Fierce Healthcare reported last week that the audit by the GAO found the VA's method of calculating wait times often conceal the actual time it takes before a patient sees a clinician.
The analysis of 180 veterans at six VA centers found average wait times between 22 and 71 days. Twelve veterans who had eventually been seen had faced waits of more than 90 days. Sixty vets still hadn't been seen by the time the GAO concluded its investigation. Investigators attribute those delays to clerical errors or lack of follow-up from the VA.
The report found that according to the most generous estimate, the official VA wait times underestimate wait times by a factor of two.
In a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing last week committee chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) blasted the VA for failing to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and for failing to penalize that retaliation, noting that VA records indicate only six people have been disciplined for retaliating against whistleblowers in recent years, none of whom were fired.