Last year, Congress approved $16.3 billion to shorten wait-times at the VA hospitals, hire more doctors, open more clinics, and build a program that lets veterans facing long wait-times get private-sector care.
Unfortunately, wait-times have not improved. From August 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015, nearly 874,000 appointments had wait-times of 30 days or more. About one-fourth of those appointments had wait-times longer than 60 days.
The chronic delays are concentrated at a fraction of hospitals and clinics, mostly in rural regions in Southern states with high numbers of military veterans.
Of the 75 hospitals with the highest rate of veterans waiting more than 30 days for care, 47 were located in the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and a rural area between New Mexico and Colorado.
According to the AP:
“Those 47 clinics and hospitals represent just a fraction of the more than 1,000 VA facilities nationwide, but they were responsible for more than one in five of the appointments that took longer than 60 days to complete.”
$21 Million VA Hospital Malpractice Award
Meanwhile, the VA has been hit with a $21 million malpractice verdict on behalf of a 60 year-old Navy veteran who has “locked-in syndrome” after suffering two strokes.
After his first stroke, the VA sent him home with instructions to take two baby aspirins daily. Six weeks later, he had a second stroke in the same region of his brain. The judge said he should have been prescribed a blood-thinning medication instead of aspirin.