VA inaccurately recorded 38% of new patient wait times: 5 things to know

The Department of Veterans Affairs inaccurately recorded wait times for 38% of new patient appointments scheduled in 2017, according to the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General internal audit published March 13.

Here are five things to know.

1. These inaccurate wait times understated veterans' wait times by approximately 15 days, since facility staff typically recorded a preferred date or the actual appointment date when scheduling the appointments rather than using the clinically indicated date in these instances.

2. Based on the assessment of wait times from the clinically indicated date, the OIG estimated roughly 18 percent of appointments had wait times longer than 30 days.

3. These wait times exceeding 30 days were higher than the estimated 10 percent of appointments the VHA's electronic scheduling system showed were scheduled more than 30 days.

4. Overall, the OIG estimated new patients waited an average of about 18 days for an appointment.

5. For the 2,500 appointments that were longer than 30 days, the OIG estimated veterans waited an average of 53 days.

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