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VA Health Officials Respond To TN Veterans Long Wait Times

VA Health Officials Respond To TN Veterans Long Wait Times

CREATED Jun 3, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System responded Tuesday to a USA Today report stating veterans in Middle Tennessee face the longest waiting periods for care in the country.

According to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans in Middle Tennessee wait on average double the amount of time to see a doctor than the rest of the nation.

USA Today obtained the numbers through a public records request.

The VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, which runs the VA facility in Nashville and the hospital in Murfreesboro, released a statement reiterating there is an issue with reporting accurate wait time.

They will also start contacting Veterans on the electronic waiting list to provide more timely care. Staff members will make three attempts to reach each Veteran on the waiting list. They will be offered the choice to see a provider in the community or wait for care through TVHS.

Officials are also considering extending clinic hours in the afternoon and evenings as well as weekend appointments.

“We understand Veterans are currently waiting longer than they desire, and the team of leadership, clinicians and administrators are working at all levels to address access at all VA TVHS sites of care. We take pride in the specialized services we provide to Veterans of Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and Northern Georgia and want to ensure the highest quality possible. Each day the entire staff works diligently, providing care that was so bravely earned through service to our Country. We will not rest until this is resolved,” said Health System Director Juan A. Morales.

VA Hospitals, nationwide, missed the target wait period of 14 days to see a doctor by nearly double: 27 days for an appointment.

In Nashville and Murfreesboro, it was more than double that at 65 days.