- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) — The director of the Veterans Administration’s Puget Sound Health Care System says the agency has drastically reduced its extended waitlist for veterans seeking care.

Michael Murphy told a news conference Friday that since it peaked late last year, the number of veterans waiting three months or more for primary care appointments has dropped 93 percent - from more than 1,500 to 86. He said the system has added staff and allowed veterans who live far from VA facilities to see other care providers.

Murphy met with Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to discuss the problems as well as continued areas of trouble for the VA locally, including its waitlist of veterans awaiting in-home care.

Murray said the system needs continued attention to ensure veterans get the care they deserve. She said that as waitlists for primary care are tackled, more patients will be referred to specialists - and that could create additional wait times to see those doctors.