Audit: Veterans Face Long Wait At VA Hospitals, Fresno Lowest In - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Audit: Veterans Face Long Wait At VA Hospitals, Fresno Lowest In State 25 Days

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) - Patients seeking care through the VA's Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System are waiting an average of 56 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor - four times longer than the department's goal.

A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs says the average wait time for new patients at other VA hospitals in California ranged from about 25 days in Fresno to about 44 days in Loma Linda.

The Veterans Affairs Department says more than 57,000 patients are still waiting for initial medical appointments at VA hospitals and clinics 90 days or more after requesting them. An additional 64,000 who enrolled in the VA health care system over the past 10 years have never had appointments.

The department says an audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics found that the agency's complicated appointment process created confusion among scheduling clerks and supervisors. The audit says a 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA has since abandoned that goal.

The audit released Monday says 13 percent of VA schedulers reported supervisors telling them to falsify appointment dates to make waiting times appear shorter.

The findings are part of a national audit ordered after a whistleblower claimed veterans were dying while waiting for care in Phoenix.

Complete report Monday night on the KMPH Fox 26 News at Ten
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