North Carolina veteran with infection waited weeks for appointment, despite new VA program

A veteran suffering from an infection in North Carolina had to wait weeks for an appointment with a specialist, despite a new program meant to provide faster access to specialists when Veterans Affairs can't see patients quickly, according to CBS affiliate WBTV.

Though the Mission Act was implemented earlier this year — a replacement of the VA Choice program — veterans still face a shortage of available outside providers. 

Greg Annas, a veteran living in North Carolina, had care delayed for weeks. Medical records show Mr. Annas was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection in February at Asheville, N.C.-based Charles George VA Medical Center. The infection worsened and, on Apr. 23, a physician referred the veteran to an outside specialist through the Mission Act.

Mr. Annas was scheduled for an appointment Jun. 25, but, by that time, he had already paid to see a private physician. 

"I tried for 13 weeks to get an appointment with a local physician here in town and they kept calling me saying they couldn't find one, they couldn't find one," Mr. Annas told WBTV, a claim the local VA disputes.

"After a clinical review, our records do not reflect a delay of care," Amber Brown, a Charles George VA Medical Center spokesperson, said in a brief statement sent to WBTV. 

The company administering Mission Act care said its provider network is not large enough for the anticipated number of veterans needing care, according to The New York Times.

More articles on post-acute care:
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33% of nursing homes have comprehensive antibiotic stewardship programs 

A veteran suffering from an infection in North Carolina had to wait months for an appointment with a specialist, despite a new program meant to provide faster access to specialists when Veterans Affairs can't see patients quickly, according to CBS affiliate WBTV.

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