Audit: VA patients wait 44 days for appointments in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — New patients at Veterans Affairs medical facilities in the San Diego region generally had to wait nearly 44 days for a primary care or specialty care appointment, according to a systemwide audit released Monday.

Group Helps Disable Veterans Process Benefits ClaimsThe Department of Veterans Affairs launched a nationwide access audit last month after it was reported that patients at the VA medical center in Phoenix died while awaiting care. The scandal led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The audit found that in San Diego, 94 percent of appointments were booked with a wait time of 30 days or less, but new patients had to wait an average of two weeks longer. New patients seeking mental health services were seen, on average, in 34 days.

Established patients at the VA San Diego Healthcare System were seen within three to five days, according to the audit.

Nationally, the audit found that an “overly complicated scheduling process” results in “high potential to create confusion among scheduling clerks and front-line supervisors”; meeting a 14-day wait-time performance target was “simply not attainable because of a growing demand for services”; 13 percent of scheduling staff interviewed said they were instructed to enter a different date in the scheduling system than what the patient asked for; and pressure was placed on schedulers to make waiting times appear more favorable.

The national audit also found that staffing problems were discovered at smaller outpatient clinics. Escondido and Imperial valley VA facilities were flagged because of patient wait times and a secondary investigation has been launched. In 2008 problems at the two flagged facilities caused a supervisor leave. Now auditors will dig through electronic patient log books to figure out what is going wrong. Va Officials claim the two troubled clinics are run by government contractors, but employees told fox 5 off camera that there is a mix of VA and contractors employed on site. Signs at the Escondido clinic also claim the property is property of the federal government.

3 comments

  • UpsetVeteren

    This is a lie. I retired 16 months ago and I'm still waiting to be seen. I've called the VA several times and then last December they said I never filed a claim but I kept copies and the receipt from the VA representative that was supposed to file it last February 2013 Then I called a friend who works at the VA that went down to the Mission Valley Branch and then he found out they misplaced my claim. Then my claim was placed in "the system" and even though I have received letters since then saying that they are working on my claim I still have not received an appointment with the VA. I think this audit is false. I have friends that retired after me and have completed their claims with the VA. I call weekly and continually get the run around and I'm a combat veteran (Iraq and Afghanistan) with some health and mental issues. I don't trust the VA's audit here in San Diego and I'm disappointed with the VA claims process. I do not believe the VA has the veterans' interest at heart.

  • William King

    all I wanted was an apology!! I have been a victim of the San Diego VA hospital for the last 13 years because I made a complaint against Dr Charles Goldberg about inappropriate touching!!they said there was an investigation but how can it be? no one ever talk to me !it was a one sided investigation which is a crime in itself!!getting in there in a timely manner is one thing but getting proper medical is anotherstory!all they’ve done there is try to discredit me and they’ve done a pretty good job of it! buy gas lighting and gang stalking me

  • William king

    as I’m sitting here looking out over the water I asked myself what makes a man feel they’re above the law and they won’t get caught well narcissistic mind it must be some kind of power play adrenaline rush who really knows one thing for sure I won’t have no part of any crimes and I would report it so I say to the workers at the San Diego VA hospital report report report and a lot of times you don’t even know you we’re in on the crime these people that do crimes are pretty tricky so be aware so I say shame on everybody that committed crimes against me at the San Diego VA hospital always in the end the good guys win and the bad people perish

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