- Associated Press - Monday, June 9, 2014

The Wilmington, Delaware, Veterans Affairs Medical Center is among 112 VA facilities nationwide flagged for further review of scheduling and management practices blamed for lengthy wait times for medical appointments, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday.

Hospital spokesman James Coty said officials there needed time to study the federal agency’s report before commenting.

The report says new patients at Wilmington waited an average of 63 days for an appointment with a primary care provider. That’s the 16th- longest wait time among 141 facilities surveyed.

To see a specialist, new patients at Wilmington waited an average of 42 days; for a mental health appointment, they waited an average 23 days according to the report.

Wait times were much shorter for veterans already in the system, both nationally and locally. At WiImington, established patients waited an average of less than 2 days to see a primary care or mental health provider, and less than three to see a specialist.

The VA said a broader audit of 731 facilities found that a 14-day target for wait times was “not attainable,” given growing demand for services and poor planning.

The decision to flag some facilities for further review is a preliminary step, the VA said.

“Where audited sites identify concerns within the parent facility or its affiliated clinics, the VA will trigger administrative procedures to ascertain the appropriate follow-on actions for specific individuals,” the report said.

U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del., said it was unacceptable that some veterans have waited 90 days or more to get appointments at Wilmington.

“I’ll be working with the congressional delegation and the VA to ensure the problems that exist are corrected,” he said.

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