A new report released Monday by the Department of Veteran Affairs revealed that the average wait time for veterans seeking care in the VA’s Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is 56 days, a staggering four times longer than the department’s target time, reports the Associated Press.
The report comes as part of a national audit of 700 VA health systems, ordered after the disastrous mismanagement at VA hospitals in Phoenix was discovered.
The report’s findings indicate that already established patients average much shorter wait times than new patients; for the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, the wait for established patients was four days.
Other VA systems in California have much shorter wait times for established patients, according to the results of the audit; average wait times at Fresno and San Francisco VA systems were just one day after the desired appointment date, although the average wait time for new patients at the Fresno VA is 25 days.
The audit also found that new patients seeking mental health services at the Los Angeles VA waited an average of 39 days to see a doctor, while established patients were able to get an appointment within two days.
Perhaps the most disturbing revelation from the report is that 13% of VA appointment schedulers said that a supervisor ordered them to outright falsify appointment dates to hide the long wait times.