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Audit shows new patients wait 44 days for appointment at Shrevep - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Audit shows new patients wait 44 days for appointment at Shreveport VA Medical Center

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SHREVEPORT, La - The Veterans Administration released the latest results from the Access Audit Monday - including numbers from local hospitals across the nation.  Locally, at Overton Brooks Medical Center, it seems new patients have been waiting longer than we've all been told for their appointments. In fact, our local VA hospital has been flagged for further review and investigation. When we spoke with the spokeswoman at Overton Brooks, Sandy Franks, she told us patients were seen within 30 days, but according to these latest numbers, that's not exactly the case.

The average wait time for a new patient to see a primary care doctor is about 44 days. To see a specialist, it's about 47. And for a mental health appointment, new patients are waiting about 30 days.

When it comes to established patients, wait times are much better. To see a primary care doctor, the average established patient wait time is just about three days. For a specialist, its also about three days. And for a mental health appointment, it's just two.

When KTBS spoke with Franks back in May, this is what she said about seeing new patients, once their paperwork had been put through the system. "We have 30 days to get you into a new patient orientation, we generally try to do within 14 days...We do fill the 30 days requirement. We are generally better than the national standard...but like I said, we try and get our patients in earlier than that for new patient appointments."

It is important to note that nine out of eleven of the hospitals in our region were flagged for further review, not just Shreveport.

There were some other notable findings - nationwide - released Monday. The audit found 13% of scheduling staff interviewed indicated they received instruction to enter a date different than what the veteran had requested in the appointment scheduling system. And, 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.

So whether our numbers our accurate - remains questionable.
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