VA audit shows Wilmington site requires further review - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

VA audit shows Wilmington facility among those that "require further review"

A new audit by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows the Wilmington facility is among the sites that "require further review" A new audit by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows the Wilmington facility is among the sites that "require further review"

A new report by the Department of Veterans Affairs says the VA facility in Wilmington is on a list of sites that "require further review".

The findings are part of a national audit ordered after a whistleblower claimed veterans were dying while waiting for care in Phoenix. "Site Audit teams" visited more than 700 VA Hospitals and other facilities across the country from May 12 to June 3. Facilities in Wilmington, Charlotte, Raleigh and Jacksonville are among more than 100 put on a "need further review" list, based on responses by front-line staff to questions and comments contained in the questionnaires used by the audit teams during visits.

The report did not specify what types of irregularities, problems or concerns would qualify a facility for further review.

The review also found that veterans trying to receive healthcare Fayetteville VA Medical Center wait an average of 83 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor, which is almost six times longer than the goal set in place by VA guidelines.

Overall the report shows average wait time for new patients at VA hospitals across North Carolina ranged from nearly 29 days in Salisbury to 83 days in Fayetteville.

VA guidelines say veterans should be seen within 14 days of their desired date for a primary care appointment. The department now says that meeting that target was unattainable given existing resources and growing demand.

Officials with the VA facility in Fayetteville released this statement regarding the findings:

"The VA health system faces challenges in providing timely access to care for our Veteran patients.   In a growing medical center such as Fayetteville health care system that has seen tremendous increase in new patients coming to VA for their care, this challenge is magnified.   The Veteran is the focus of our attention each day.  In every site we want to provide the care that each Veteran has justly earned.   We remain committed to providing high quality, safe patient care, in a timely manner.   The data released today on the VA website had many different topics pertaining not only to access to care but also efficiency, productivity, quality, complication rate, length of hospitalization for care.   The data release matches with the Administration's desire for transparency.  The Medical Center is working diligently to help you to understand this data and how this data guides decision making.

Our focus remains on the Veteran patients for whom we are honored to care.  Through our innovative health coaching program, our patient center care teams, our use of tele-health programs and secured messaging services, Fayetteville VA strives to meet and exceed the patients' desires. 

Our Wilmington HCC was identified as one of the sites needing further review as a result of the initial round of scheduling audits. The details, timelines, and process for that further review are unclear.  The facility continues to expand services with additional specialty care becoming available for Veterans in that region."

 -Jeff Melvin, Fayetteville VAMC Public Affairs Officer

To see the findings from the VA audit report, click here:

Copyright 2014 WECT. The Associated Press contributed material to this report.

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