National Audit Reveals Wait Times for VA Facilities - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

National Audit Reveals Wait Times for VA Facilities

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HELENA -

Wait times for veterans at one of the VA facilities in Montana is more than three times longer than the VA’s goal.

In findings released Monday, patients looking for care are waiting an average of 48 days through the Fort Harrison Veterans Affairs Medical Center outside Helena. The department's goal is 14 days, but now, managers there say that goal was unattainable because of existing resources and growing demand. The findings are part of the national audit ordered after claims that veterans were dying while waiting for care in phoenix.

The audit also says the medical centers at Fort Harrison and Billings require further investigation.

"I think the point of the secondary review with the OIG is to try and have the OIG come in and figure out was there willful misconduct and I would say in VA Montana I do not believe that we've had any willful misconduct,” said Dr. Trena Bonde, VA Montana Health Care System Chief of Staff. “It’s just that the scheduling is so complex that some staff really didn't understand the process"

Dr. Bonde says they're working to improve processes and procedures in training schedulers and leaders

The wait time for patients seeking a primary care doctor at the VA center in Cheyenne is more than 32 days. There were no wait times for the clinic in Billings because statistics came from the parent VA in the state.