Audit shows some Iowa veterans are waiting 40 days for care
Written by Justin Andrews, Multimedia Reporter - bio | email
IOWA CITY (KWWL) -
Some Iowa veterans are waiting close to 40 days or more to get the medical care they need, according to a new audit by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
New patients at Iowa City’s VA hospital are waiting 43.16 days for primary care appointments.
Des Monies’ new patients are waiting 39.14 days for a scheduled appointment, yet of the total appointment scheduled, 95 percent are in a month or less.
Officials at the Iowa City VA say of their 32,824 total scheduled appointments, 96 percent are scheduled in a month or less.
However, when looking at the wait times for new patients, they say it’s certainly not OK.
“So there’s a little room for improvement,” said Sandra Horsman, Iowa City VA acting director. “We are working and we’re getting them in, but we still struggle with some specialty clinic appointments.”
She says while they are getting veterans care at national standards, more can still be done.
Horsman says the staff works hard to get vets in their facility, but having community-based outpatient care and the University of Iowa is a plus.
When it comes to specialty care appointments, Iowa City vets are waiting close to two months.
“If we can’t get them scheduled within 90 days we put them on the electronic waiting list,” said Horsman. “Just because they’re on the electronic waiting list does not mean they’ve waited 90 days.”
However, Horsman says there are veteran outliers. Meaning those vets with no symptoms could wait up to 120 days.
“We will find a way to get them in, we will overbook, we will do extended hours and we will work with the community,” Horsman.
The Iowa City VA has projects in the works to improve wait times including telehealth, where patients are given health-related services over the phone or through video.
In 2013, the Iowa City VA hired over 200 providers and support staff.
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