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Further review – Audit flags Atlanta VA

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Further review – Audit flags Atlanta VA

The Atlanta VA Medical Center. Source: http://www.atlanta.va.gov/
The Atlanta VA Medical Center. Source: http://www.atlanta.va.gov/

The Atlanta VA Medical Center. Source: http://www.atlanta.va.gov/

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has put the Atlanta VA Medical Center on a list of facilities that need further scrutiny for their long patient wait times.

The announcement is the latest development in a scandal about veterans’ difficulty accessing VA services.

Auditors found that the average wait time for new patients at the Atlanta VA was 64 days. The Atlanta VA is located in greater Decatur on Clairmont Road.

Atlanta’s facility was one of five in Georgia that “require further review” concerning the length of time it takes for patients to see a doctor.

“As a result of these audits, some locations were flagged for further review and investigation,” the report from the VA says. “Any instance of suspected willful misconduct is being reported promptly to the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG). Where the  OIG chooses not to immediately investigate, VHA leadership will launch either a fact finding or formal administrative investigation. Where misconduct is confirmed, appropriate personnel actions will promptly be pursued.”

Here are the VA’s system-wide findings about its services:

Audit Findings System-Wide Include:

 A complicated scheduling process resulted in confusion among scheduling clerks and front-line
supervisors in a number of locations.
 A 14 day wait-time performance target for new appointments was not only inconsistently deployed
throughout the health care system but was not attainable given growing demand for services and lack
of planning for resource requirements.
 Overall, 13 percent of scheduling staff interviewed indicated they received instruction (from supervisors or
others) to enter a date different than what the Veteran had requested in the appointment scheduling
 Eight percent of scheduling staff indicated they used alternatives to the official Electronic Wait List (EWL). In
some cases, pressures were placed on schedulers to utilize unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate
practices in order to make waiting times appear more favorable.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.