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Waits for veterans to receive care remain long

Waiting lists for ill or disabled veterans continue to be long. The number of vets waiting 30 to 60 days for non-emergency treatment and care is virtually unchanged from this past summer. The number of appointments taking over 90 days to complete has nearly doubled during that same period.

The goal for VA medical facilities was to have patients seen within 30 days after an appointment. However, approximately 894,000 appointments at these facilities between Aug. 1 and Feb. 28 did not meet this goal. There has been a disparity in the care that veterans receive depending on the geographic area. Of 75 clinics and hospitals with the greatest percentage of patients waiting more than 30 days, it appears that 11 of these were in Georgia.

One badly wounded veteran reported that it took 10 months for a facility to schedule an exam and biopsy following an abnormal cervical cancer screening. She said her physician even failed to mention the need for this exam. She also faced cancellations of appointments by VA facilities resulting in delays.

The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs admits the VA has not handled bureaucracy extremely well. Besides a shortage of clinics, he feels the VA has not been flexible in reallocating of resources.

Legislation put in place a plan to expand the ability of veterans to receive care outside of VA facilities. Though this apparently is open for veterans facing waits of more than 30 days, there still are VA approval issues arising.

Disabled veterans often require assistance in having their rights to care enforced. Experienced disability attorneys not only can assist in having applications for benefits approved, they can assist in making sure these veterans actually receive the care they need and deserve.

Source: Military Times, “VA makes little headway in fight to shorten waits for care,” David B. Caruso, April 9, 2015

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