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Audit: More than 57,000 await initial VA medical appointments

WASHINGTON (AP) - More than 57,000 veterans have been waiting for up to three months for medical appointments, the Veterans Affairs Department said in a wide-ranging audit released Monday. An additional 64,000 who enrolled for VA health care over the past decade have never been seen by a doctor, according to the audit.

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. Examining 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics, the audit found long wait times across the country for patients seeking their first appointments with both primary care doctors and specialists.

The audit said a 14-day target for waiting times was "not attainable," given growing demand for VA services and poor planning. It called the 2011 decision by senior VA officials setting it, and then basing bonuses on meeting the target "an organizational leadership failure."

VA Audit Finds 100,000 Veterans Face Long Wait Times

The audit is the third in a series of reports in the past month into long wait times and falsified records at VA facilities nationwide. The controversy forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign May 30. Shinseki took the blame for what he decried as a "lack of integrity" in the sprawling system providing health care to the nation's military veterans.

The audit released Monday said 13 percent of VA schedulers reported getting instructions from supervisors or others to falsify appointment dates in order to meet on-time performance goals. About 8 percent of schedulers said they used alternatives to an official electronic waiting list, often under pressure to make waiting times appear more favorable.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said the audit showed "systemic problems" that demand immediate action. VA officials have contacted 50,000 veterans across the country to get them off waiting lists and into clinics, Gibson said, and are in the process of contacting an additional 40,000 veterans.

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dbn3 June 09 2014 at 1:50 PM

This is what socialized medicine will do for us. All of those Obamacare advocates haven't yet begun to see what they did to our healthcare sysytem.

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33 replies
tbplayer44 June 09 2014 at 1:58 PM

This is how our Veterans are treated while we give free, immediate, and unearned medical care to illegal immigrants. America, what a Country!

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37 replies
Janice June 09 2014 at 1:54 PM

What concerns me the most it that this is a government run program. What's to stop this kind of treatment from Obamacare? No matter your party affiliation, we all know that the government cannot run anything efficiently. This is such a travesty to our vets. The whistleblowers should get medals for this one.

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43 replies
sle21701 June 09 2014 at 1:54 PM

Liberals don't be surprised ...... get use to it....Obamacare will be ran the exact same way... only the number of people affected will be a 1,000s of times worse....

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13 replies
Hi Bob June 09 2014 at 1:37 PM

My brother and I are Vietnam veterans and live in Oregon. When we went to the VA clinic in Salem Oregon. (on seperate occasions) we were informed that we did not Qualify for aid from the VA clinic or hospital. They didn't just delay an appointment for us. They flatly refused to even consider us for an appointment. We were not the exception. I know of several other Veterans who recieved the same brush off.

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50 replies
glid13 June 09 2014 at 2:07 PM

We can help foreign countries but cant take care of our own - fat cat in DC need to be fired along with the Chief.

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6 replies
hsandeman June 09 2014 at 1:35 PM

perhaps Obama can blame Bush for this

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42 replies
Terry Poulton June 09 2014 at 1:56 PM

Government Run Agency. Now with Obamacare the entire nation will be able to experience this great program.

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6 replies
Stacy June 09 2014 at 2:01 PM

If this is the way we treat our veterans then we don't deserve the freedom they fought so hard to win.

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6 replies
Mike June 09 2014 at 1:35 PM

This is no surprise to any of us who have to deal with the VA on a professional level. It often seems that they can never get anything right.

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2 replies
sle21701 Mike June 09 2014 at 2:05 PM

can we say the reason is....health care ran by big government.....

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5 replies
u8nt4me Mike June 09 2014 at 10:56 PM

A-hole Obama what story are you going to try to conjure up to get this out of the headlines? When are you going to get down to solving this problem, when your out of the White House?

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3 replies
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