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 National, Sports

Los Angeles wants to host 2024 Summer Olympics

Fresh
20-overlay1

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to pursue a bid to bring the Summer Games to town in 2024 and become the only city besides London ever to host the Olympics three times.

in National

Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony among frontrunners for new $10 bill

God Money

Officials plan to make a decision by this fall with the total redesign completed by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

in Sports

Top seeds in a hurry on day of U.S. Open upsets

serena

World number ones Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic launched their U.S. Open title bids in ruthless style.

in Entertainment, Sports

Will Smith to take on NFL coverup

21-overlay

"Concussion" is based on Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was the first to discover the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE): a disease of the brain found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma.

in Lifestyle, National

Smoking rate continues to fall

smoking

The smoking rate dropped to 17 percent last year, down from about 18 percent in 2013.