More Louisville veterans than first reported face long VA wait times

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by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 19 at 6:40 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Updated audit results from the Veterans Administration show many more veterans than first reported have had to wait more than thirty days for appointments at Kentucky V-A hospitals and medical clinics.

Audit results released two weeks ago showed that two percent of veterans at the Robley Rex Veterans Administration Medical Center in Louisville had to wait thirty or more days for an appointment.

Click here for link to Veterans Administration audit statistics (pdf)

But upon closer inspection, the VA now reports 6.88% of Louisville VA patients, 3,386 veterans, had to wait thirty or more days.

That figure is more than three times what was originally reported.

Of those, the new audit figures show 968 veterans have been waiting more than three months for an appointment at the Louisville V-A or an associated clinic.

"I don’t like that we’ve got more veterans waiting, but at least we’re getting better data,” said acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson on Wednesday.

The VA continues to update its investigation into widespread delays and falsified records to mask long delays for medical care.

Nationally, about 10 percent of veterans waited at least 30 days, more than twice the number the department released last week.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said the new Louisville numbers demonstrate why full transparency is needed in these investigations.

"Right now, we need to continue to get all the information we can," Yarmuth said.  "Again, I think transparency is important."

Despite reports at V-A Medical Centers in other states which indicate V-A staff falsified wait time records, Yarmuth said fundamentally the VA scandal is a question of resources.

"This wasn't people who deliberately set out to deny care to veterans or to harm them in any way," Yarmuth said.

In Lexington, the audit results released two weeks ago showed that three percent of veterans at the Lexington Veterans Administration Medical Center had to wait thirty or more days for an appointment.

But upon closer inspection, the V-A now reports 6.76% of patients had to wait thirty or more days, 2,241 veterans, more than two and half times what was originally reported.

Of those, the new audit figures show 200 veterans have been waiting more than three months for an appointment at the Lexington VA.

"We have not been able to create the right mix of services and provide the ample resources to care for the increasing number of veterans who rely on services," Yarmuth said.

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