VA Secretary Says Wait Times Are Growing Despite Increase in Staff
The number of appointments that are not completed within 30 days at Department of Veterans Affairs health care centers continues to grow despite the department's efforts to increase clinic and hospital staffing and see more patients, AP/Modern Healthcare reports.
VA Secretary Robert McDonald on Friday said in the last fiscal year VA:
- Completed millions more appointments than it did in the preceding year; and
- Hired thousands of new providers.
The number of appointments that are not completed within 30 days has increased from 300,000 to 500,000.
McDonald noted that veterans who have other sources of coverage are increasingly seeking VA care because of its:
- Convenience; and
For example, he noted that treatment for hearing loss can be cost $4,000 less for veterans if they go through VA instead of other coverage.
McDonald noted, "Access to care has improved. But here's the inevitability: Improved access means more demand." Still, McDonald did not endorse proposals to provide veterans with vouchers to obtain care from private health care providers. He said that while analyzing such proposals, he "discovered" that "VA is not only essential for veterans, the VA is essential for American medicine because we're on the cutting edge of so many treatments" (AP/Modern Healthcare, 11/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.