For Immediate Release:March 27, 2018
Contact: Scott Weldon | Scott.Weldon@mail.house.gov  

Rep. Taylor Sends Letter to VA Sec. Shulkin on Lengthy Wait Times at Hampton VA

Washington, D.C. - Last week, Representative Scott Taylor sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin, concerning the widespread discrepancies in scheduling data for appointments at the Hampton VA Medical Center (VAMC). According to the VA Inspector General (IG), miscalculations of this magnitude mask the actual demand for care and prevent veterans from receiving private sector treatment under the VA Choice program.

A careful review of primary and mental health care appointments for new patients and referrals for specialists revealed that 36 percent had to wait longer than a month for an appointment, while the VA scheduling system indicated that roughly 10 percent of patients experienced extended wait times. The report estimated that as many as 13,800 veterans were eligible to receive care under the Choice program due to lengthy wait times, but were not granted authorization by the VA.

Health care providers who participate in the Choice program are facing their own set of challenges. Currently, VA related claims have taken an average of 177 days to be paid, or 3.5 times longer than the average of all third-party payers. Riverside Health Systems, located in Newport News, reported that 227 of 504 claims, totaling more than $2 million, have languished more than 120 days without payment. In one instance, Riverside was reimbursed 961 days - more than 2.5 years - after a veteran's discharge. 

"The employees at the Hampton VAMC have devoted their careers to serving our men and women in uniform. However, as the IG report indicates, there is a clear lack of leadership and communication, which is impeding our nation's heroes from getting the care they deserve. The issues facing the VA - long wait times, missed appointments, lack of repayment - are all interrelated. The solution is not to add another layer of bureaucracy, but streamlining the process so veterans receive high quality, accessible care, and providers are promptly repaid for their work," said Congressman Scott Taylor.

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Congressman Scott Taylor (VA-02)  
412 Cannon House Office Building | Washington, DC  20515
(202) 225-4215 | (202) 225-4218 (f)
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