- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System is working to correct almost two dozen new problems found by the Inspector General’s office.

Findings released Thursday show the system wasn’t providing enough testing for certain patients or routinely screening for HIV, among other issues, The Arizona Republic reported (https://bit.ly/1H8scY8).

This is the first time an inspection like this has taken place since 2012, Phoenix VA spokeswoman Jean Schaefer said.

“We agreed with the findings and have an action plan in place to address the shortcomings,” she said.

The recent audits found potential complications were not sufficiently addressed for 45 percent of patients undergoing an MRI.

A Gilbert outpatient clinic wasn’t conducting diagnostic assessments for 79 percent of its patients, the audits found. About 84 percent of patients were not provided with HIV testing.

It was reported more than a year ago that the system was backlogged with patients, 5.7 percent of whom waited 30 days or more for appointments as staff falsified wait times.

The longest wait time was recorded at a northern Arizona facility in Cottonwood, with 10 percent of its patients waiting at least 30 days to be seen by a doctor.

Nationally, the average is at 2.8 percent of patients waiting longer than 31 days.

Officials in Phoenix said in April that they’d added staff and doctors to improve wait times.

The Phoenix VA has been working to permanently fix those issues.

“There’s continued oversight to make sure they stick,” Schaefer said.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, https://www.azcentral.com

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