Tuesday, July 29, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Audit: Local VA facilities have long wait times

OSO50_hearing_vets_1_30_13

Dr. Jane Trauba Sliheet fits a hearing aid onto Navy veteran Forrest Milas, at the Mare Island Outpatient Clinic in Vallejo, in 2013. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic file)

By
From page A1 | June 12, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — This area’s Department of Veterans Affairs clinics and medical centers are suffering from the same wait-time problems as the rest of the nation, but none are suspected of dubious scheduling practices, according to the health care system audit released this week by the VA.

The report included audit information on access to both the Northern California VA Healthcare System, which is based in Sacramento, but oversees outpatient clinics at Travis Air Force Base, Mare Island and Martinez, and the Palo Alto VA Healthcare System, which services the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Both are part of the VA Sierra Pacific Network that covers Northern California and northwestern Nevada.

Neither the Palo Alto or Northern California systems were listed as needing further review and investigation, according to the audit. Two other facilities were flagged for potential scheduling irregularities – the Livermore Medical Center and the Yuba City Outpatient Clinic.

The audit of the Northern California VA Healthcare System stated that 54,628 appointments out of 58,568 – or 93 percent – were scheduled within 30 days of the veteran patient’s request. The Palo Alto VA system got its patients scheduled with a doctor in fewer than 30 days 95 percent of the time, the audit stated.

Both VA health care systems didn’t meet the national average, which stated 96 percent of VA patients were able to get appointments scheduled with their doctors in 30 days or less.

The longest average waits were for new Northern California system VA patients scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician, an average 43.48 days, while the shortest average waits were for established patients scheduling a mental health appointment, an average of 2.87 days.

The nationwide audit gave a more complete picture that laid out the widespread problems in the VA’s facilities. It covered 731 facilities across the nation and was based on more than 3,700 staff interviews.

Overall, the audit found “a complicated scheduling process resulted in confusion among scheduling clerks and front-line supervisors in a number of locations.”

“A 14-day wait-time performance target for new appointments was not only inconsistently deployed throughout the health care system, but was not attainable given growing demand for services and lack of planning for resource requirements,” the audit stated. The audit also found that the 14-day goal was “simply not attainable” due to growing demand and lack of capacity.

The audit concluded “while the Veterans Health Administration must assess and learn from the access audit, we are immediately redoubling our efforts to quickly address delays in veterans’ health care.”

The audit was started after a political firestorm was ignited when a whistleblower revealed extensive problems at the Phoenix, Ariz., VA facility where dozens of veterans died while awaiting care there.

Army veteran Clyde Gamble of Vallejo, who has been helping other veterans get benefits for years, said he agreed with the Northern California audit figures. He said that he has had little problem with getting veterans care at local VA facilities within a reasonable amount of time – for the most part.

“There have been problems, but it has not been too bad,” Gamble said.

Gamble said the Oakland VA center and other facilities have been overloaded for years, partly because veterans from other areas come here for treatment to get away from poor VA service elsewhere.

He also said that the backlogs and long wait times “have been going on for years and this is nothing new.”

Navy veteran Bernard Costa of Vacaville was more dubious. He called the 93 percent figure “pure B.S. because I know a lot of vets who have had to wait a long time for an appointment.”

“This is something that has been ignored for a long time,” Costa said. “It is not news to the vets.”

Gamble said much has to be done to solve a problem that has been going on a long time.

“This has got to get better,” Gamble said. The audit, he said, will show “the next person in charge what needs to be fixed.”

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • omydarling21June 12, 2014 - 3:04 am

    Yes finally it has come here. David Grant has long wait times and has been that way for years now.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacJune 12, 2014 - 7:00 am

    We need less veterans.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 12, 2014 - 7:17 am

    Satire, Bill, satire.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DanielJune 12, 2014 - 7:56 am

    Need more deserter prisoner swaps for Al Queda murdering terrorists to divert attention and spotlight from this inexcusable situation that also reminds of Obamacare when it's tenacles take full affect.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Danny BuntinJune 12, 2014 - 11:04 am

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have are new Benghazi.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MarkJune 12, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    according to my neighbor, his roommate was sent home multiple times being told his chest pains were indigestion. Only to die of a heart attack last year.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • hmm...June 12, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    WHAAAAT?? You mean a government run healthcare system is inefficient and bogged down?!?!?!? That's not a shock, and is an indication of what Obamacare will become. Wake up people!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Danny BuntinJune 12, 2014 - 5:13 pm

    The VA has the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any HMO/insurance agency.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 14 Comments | Gallery

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

.

US / World

 
Sacramento Gold Rush Days canceled due to drought

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Annoying minor floods are increasing on US coasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Man charged in teen’s 9-month disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Deal to improve veterans’ health care costs $17B

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare

By The Associated Press | From Page:

In Iraq’s Mosul, radicals unleash their vision

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Fighting in Ukraine prompts residents to flee

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Witnesses: Thunderstorm hit beach without warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Suspect’s mom also charged in Long Beach burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Pool water dumped in South Tahoe; resort fires 3

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Additional charge filed in California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

California governor takes dig at Texas guard plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
 
.

Living

Horoscopes for July 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Today in History for July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

I don’t want to have intimate contact since learning I had a STD

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

.

Entertainment

Kevin Bacon brings his ‘Six Degrees’ to Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Giants lose 5th straight, 5-0 to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
 
Lakers finally confirm Byron Scott is new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders relying on healthy Watson to solidify line

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
This date in sports history for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s day at Browns camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Humphrey to savor Hall of Fame day with ‘wingman’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rays’ Archer: ‘Never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Reed HOF induction gives Bills cause to celebrate

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

In the Pits: Gordon eyeing 5th title after big Brickyard win

By Jenna Fryer | From Page: | Gallery

 
Marketing agreement an obstacle in US bid for 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sailors to navigate dirty water in 1st Rio test

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Manningham back with Giants, with no guarantees

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Contracts to buy US homes slip in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Stocks pause as traders await key economic news

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Zillow buying Trulia to build real estate titan

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Dollar Tree steps up fight, buys Family Dollar

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5