Audit Looks At Lengthy Veteran’s Affairs Wait Times - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Audit Looks At Lengthy Veteran’s Affairs Wait Times

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BATTLE CREEK, MI (WLNS) - The latest federal action comes as the evidence grows within the Veteran's Administration that workers, reportedly, delayed medical appointments for wounded vets on purpose, in an effort to mask long delays.

And now, an audit this week by the VA shows more than 5,700 new patients waited at least three months just to see a doctor for the first time.

That audit shows wait times are long at Michigan VA facilities as well. Detroit has the longest wait at 31 days.

The VA hospital in Ann Arbor was close behind at 30 days, followed by 28 days at Battle Creek.

Other medical centers average wait times included 23 days in Iron Mountain and 22 days in Saginaw.

The audit also shows that more than 1,500 veterans in Michigan have waited more than three months for medical appointments while more than 1,600 who signed up for VA health care within the past decade have yet to see a doctor at all.

6 News Sharon Yoo was in Battle Creek Tuesday and spoke with a representative in charge of VA medical facilities in Battle Creek, Muskegon and Lansing.

The VA medical center located in Battle Creek was one of the few Michigan facilities audited last week and they were given warnings about veteran patient wait times.

Damian McGee, a spokesperson for the facility, says the facility is already working on improving wait times.

“A lot of the things that we need to do to improve these numbers we've already begun doing,” said Damian McGee, Public Affairs, Battle Creek VA Medical Center.

The audit serves as a double checking of the procedures for all VA medical centers in the nation. The center here has already started bettering their services by constructing a new mental health building.

“We have a group of staff who will do whatever it takes to make sure that the veterans will receive whatever care they need.”

However, the audit also called for further review for other facilities in the Michigan area, including outpatient clinics in Lansing and Muskegon.

McGee, who also oversees the two CBOC’s says he's not sure why the two posts were flagged for further investigation.

“When the auditors were here there may have been times when a staff member said something that gave an auditor pause or gave a reason to need to investigate further.”

But McGee says a further audit does not mean the facilities lack quality service.

By having those clinics reviewed again it's not an automatic condemnation of the services they are providing.

McGee says they will continue to take initiative and reach out to veterans who have not visited a healthcare provider yet.

The bill passed by the U.S. house proposing changes to veteran's health care plans is similar to a broader measure that the senate plans to debate soon.
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