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Veterans Affairs Releases New Data on Patient Access

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 03:11:55 +0000

Laura Segall/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs announced new data Thursday on patient access, detailing progress on treatment for individuals following last month's scandal centering on veteran wait times.

Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson said the VA contacted up to 70,000 veterans to sign them up for medical appointments, according to a statement. Nearly 200,000 health care appointments have been set up in a two-week period.

The changes come after former Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in light of Congressional outrage -- and the reported deaths of more than 50 veterans who died waiting for treatment. 

The administration faced fierce scrutiny over the revelation that thousands of veterans across the country were being denied treatment or placed on wait lists, and that many VA hospitals routinely falsified wait times to make it appear patients were being served.

"In many communities across the country, Veterans wait too long for the high quality care they’ve earned and deserve,” Gibson said. "...But there is still much more work to be done.  As we continue to address systemic challenges in accessing care, these regular data updates will enhance transparency and provide the most immediate information to Veterans and the public on Veterans’ access to quality health care.  Trust is the foundation for everything we do.  VA must be an organization built on transparency and accountability, and we will do everything we can to earn that trust one Veteran at a time.”

Still, the update of the top-to-bottom review shows that the problem with wait times are even worse than initially projected. The latest audit shows that one in ten veterans have to wait more than a month to see a doctor, more than twice as many as the numbers given last week.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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