- Associated Press - Saturday, August 9, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Officials with the Atlanta VA Medical Center are reporting improvements to wait times and care, following a national audit two months ago that identified problems at the facility and prompted further federal review.

The facility’s director, Leslie Wiggins, told reporters Friday (http://bit.ly/1mwTaKY ) that newly compiled figures for January through March show veterans are receiving appointments quicker and obtaining better care for conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure and hospital-acquired infections.

“We’re not perfect, but we’re continuously improving,” Wiggins said. “Things are improving every day.”

The figures marked improvement over the previous quarter on 20 of 27 measures tracked by the VA’s performance improvement system. However, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the hospital’s overall quality ranking among VA facilities remained unchanged, with two stars out of a possible five. The newspaper said that means the facility’s in the bottom third of the VA’s 128 acute care and surgery facilities.

Atlanta VA officials said they have also added 15 call center positions to reduce the time to answer calls.

The Atlanta VA hospital is one of five VA facilities in Georgia flagged for investigation after a national audit that identified long wait times and possible records tampering at VA hospitals and clinics across the country.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed a bill providing the VA with $16.3 billion in emergency funds, which will help hire more doctors and nurses. The bill also makes it easier to fire top VA executives if they fail to perform.

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com