Veterans doctor Wait Times
Dr. Alexis Harrison and her patient, Air Force Veteran Larry Kerr. (CREDIT) Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer)

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has reduced wait times for veterans to see doctors in recent months.

According to USA Today:

The agency’s health care system for veterans has paid to send nearly 200,000 patients to private doctors in order to speed up care, part of an effort that has decreased average wait times to see primary physicians from 51 to 43 days.

Despite those gains, the agency’s data tracking efforts, which now span three and a half months, also show some persistent problems: as of Aug. 15, the date of the last data collection, the number of patients who wait more than 30 days to see a doctor remained largely unchanged, at more than 630,000 — roughly 10.5 percent of the VA’s patients.

“On Wednesday, May 21, VA launched the Accelerating Access to Care Initiative, a nation-wide program to ensure timely access to care,” a statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs reads. “As directed by President Obama, VHA has identified Veterans across the system experiencing waits that do not meet Veterans expectations for timeliness. VA has begun contacting and scheduling all Veterans who are waiting for care in VA clinics or arranging for care in the community, while simultaneously addressing the underlying issues that impede Veterans’ access.”

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