Indiana representatives respond to VA report, call wait times “unacceptable”

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON D.C. (June 10, 2014)– A new report shows long wait times for veterans to receive care at VA hospitals around the country and in Indiana. The VA’s internal reviews shows 100,000 veterans have experienced long wait times nation wide and some 57,000 are still waiting to be scheduled for an appointment.

“It’s important to understand that our scheduling system scheduled its first appointment in April of 1985. It has not changed in any appreciable manner since that date,” said Philip Matkovsky, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Administrative Operations with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In Indianapolis, 94 percent of appointments were scheduled within 30 days. By comparison, the Northern Indiana VA was able to schedule 97 percent of its appointments within 30 days.

The Indianapolis facility, the Roudebush VA, is one of six regional facilities now flagged for further review of patient wait times after the report was released in Washington D.C. Monday evening.

“We’ve seen all these budgets and we’ve funded everything under the sun and it is baffling to me and it has to be baffling to the American taxpayers watching tonight that we’re using 1985 antiquated system,” said Representative Jackie Walorski (R- Indiana).

Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly from Indiana have requested in-person briefings from the VA headquarters about any findings specific to Indiana.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that hundreds of Hoosier veterans have had to wait more than 90 days for primary care. They need to be contacted and seen as soon as possible,” said Sen. Donnelly in a statement. “I have visited and will continue to be in touch with VA leadership in Indiana and have an outstanding request with Sen. Coats for an in-person briefing from the VA headquarters on any Indiana-specific findings. We need to give VA medical facilities the tools they need to bring down wait times and improve care, and we need to hold VA officials responsible for any misconduct. Every effort must be made to improve the speed of delivery and the quality of the health care given to our veterans.”

Sen. Coats also is asking for an independent investigation of the VA system to find a prosecute those responsible for neglecting patient care.