Monday, June 9, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Patients seeking care through the Dorn Veterans Administration Medical Center in Columbia are waiting an average of 77 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor -- more than five times longer than the department's goal.
A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs released Monday says the average wait time for new patients at South Carolina's other VA hospital in Charleston averaged about 45 days.
The department says an audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics found the agency's complicated appointment process created confusion among scheduling clerks and supervisors.
VA guidelines say veterans should be seen within 14 days of their desired date for a primary care appointment. The department now says that meeting that target was unattainable given existing resources and growing demand.
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Department says the average wait time for new patients at the Atlanta VA Medical Center was about 64 days for a primary care doctor, nearly 53 days for a specialist and almost 27 days for a mental health professional.
The report released Monday shows more than 57,000 veterans nationally have been waiting for up to three months for appointments. That includes 187 Georgia veterans who have requested appointments at VA medical centers in Atlanta, Augusta and Dublin.
The audit says a 14-day target for wait times was "not attainable" given demand and poor planning. The average wait at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin was about 57 days for a primary doctor.
All three Georgia VA medical centers have been flagged for further review.
(Copyright 2014. The Associated Press.)