WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 57,000 U.S. military veterans have been waiting 90 days or more for their first VA medical appointments, and an additional 64,000 appear to have fallen through the cracks, never getting appointments after enrolling, the government said Monday in a report newly demonstrating how deep and widespread the problem is.

It’s not just a backlog issue, the wide-ranging Veterans Affairs review indicated. Thirteen percent of schedulers in the facility-by-facility report on 731 hospitals and outpatient clinics reported being told by supervisors to falsify appointment schedules to make patient waits appear shorter.

The audit is the first nationwide look at the VA network in the uproar that began with reports two months ago of patients dying while awaiting appointments and of cover-ups at the Phoenix VA center. A preliminary review last month found that long patient waits and falsified records were “systemic” throughout the VA medical network, the nation’s largest single health care provider serving nearly 9 million veterans.

“This behavior runs counter to our core values,” the report said. “The overarching environment and culture which allowed this state of practice to take root must be confronted head-on.”

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said Monday that VA officials have contacted 50,000 veterans across the country to get them off waiting lists and into clinics and are in the process of contacting 40,000 more.

The controversy forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign May 30. Shinseki took the blame for what he decried as a “lack of integrity” through the network. Legislation is being written in both the House and Senate to allow more veterans who can’t get timely VA appointments to see doctors listed as providers under Medicare or the military’s TRICARE program. The proposals also would make it easier to fire senior VA regional officials and hospital administrators.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the report demonstrated that Congress must act immediately.

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3 thoughts on “VA Problems Multiply As Vets Wait Or Never Get Appointments

    • tewdeeq on said:

      The Republicans ran the healthcare system into the ground. All Obama did was try to fix it up. Were you expecting Wall Street and the Republicans bought by them to do anything about the healthcare crisis?

  1. Linda on said:

    For the men and women in this country who sacrifice their lives everyday fighting on foreign soil–this is an INSULT!!

    When they arrive back home battered and broken the least the VA can do is to treat them in a timely manner instead of having them wait for weeks and months for a doctor’s appointment.

    If the VA is under-staffed–then they need to hire more doctors, if it is just neglect–then heads need to roll.

    Carte Blanche should be given to the GI’s instead of what they are receiving now!!!!!!

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