At the Department of Veterans Affairs, vets applying for mental health-related benefits can have their claims processed in a minute, instead of two months.
Five years after the 2014 scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs’s medical center in Phoenix, Arizona, and patient wait times at the agency are still difficult to measure and track.
In today’s Federal Newscast, a new study in the Journal of American Medicine Association finds veterans waited fewer days in 2017 than 2014.
VA Secretary Bob McDonald said his department is different enough from other federal agencies that a separate personnel system is appropriate for VA senior executives. McDonald also said the department is working on new performance standards to measure veterans’ satisfaction with VA medical facilities and the time it takes to receive an appointment.
The Veterans Affairs Department says nearly 97 percent of veterans received an appointment at a VA medical center within 30 days. But the Government Accountability Office says otherwise. GAO’s own study suggests average wait times range from 22 to 71 days for an appointment.
Congress is beginning to get a clearer picture of the Veterans Affairs Department’s new Choice Program, which lets veterans access private sector community care providers if they choose. But members on the House VA Committee question the department’s continued involvement in scheduling appointments for veterans.