The Department of Veterans Affairs released its report on wait times for medical care on Monday, and the Van Zandt VA Medical Center results indicated that it handles cases and schedules appointments quickly.
According to the report, as of May 15, 99 percent of appointments requested were scheduled within 30 days. A total of 30,647 appointments at Van Zandt were analyzed in the report. Of those, 30,368 were scheduled within 30 days, and 29,878 were scheduled within 14 days, according to the report.
Nationwide, 96 percent of appointments were scheduled within 30 days, according to the report. However, it was not all good news, as more than 57,000 veterans across the country have waited for up to three months for the appointments to be scheduled.
Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said in a release that the VA had contacted 50,000 veterans in attempt to get them off wait lists for care.
"Today, we're providing the details to offer transparency into the scale of our challenges, and of our system itself," Gibson said in the release. "I'll repeat - this data shows the extent of the systemic problems we face, problems that demand immediate actions."
According to the report, only seven appointments requested at Van Zandt took between 91 and 120 to take place. An additional 18 took more than 120 days to be scheduled.All of the other Pennsylvania VA hospitals scored in a similar percentile on the audit. Only 45 of the examined appointments were scheduled beyond 30 days in Butler. Coatsville, Erie and Wilkes-Barre's hospitals also scored 99 percent, like Van Zandt. Lebanon's and Pittsburgh's hospitals scored 98 percent, while the VA hospital in Philadelphia scored slightly lower at 94 percent.
The report was released in tandem with additional strategies developed by Gibson to improve veterans access to health care.
These actions include removing the VA's 14-day scheduling rule to "eliminate incentives to engage in inappropriate scheduling practices or behaviors," according to a release from the department, and posting data on veteran's medical care twice a month at the VA's website.
Staff measures will also be used to improve the VA's efficiency, according to the release. Gibson is "committed" to potentially removing senior VA administrators where necessary, and also Monday enacted a hiring freeze at the Veteran's Health Administration and 21 VHA Veterans Integrated Service Network regional offices. This will "begin to remove bureaucratic obstacles and establish responsive, forward leaning leadership," according to the release.
"It is our duty and our privilege to provide veterans the care they have earned through their service and sacrifice," Gibson said in the release.