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Local VA wait time down, but still over three months

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2000Veterans Affairs Department dedicate its new $21 million Spark Matsunaga Medical Center.
    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2000
    Veterans Affairs Department dedicate its new $21 million Spark Matsunaga Medical Center.

The time veterans in Honolulu wait for their first appointment to see a primary care physician has dropped to an average of 109 days from 145 days in mid-May, but the local wait times are still the worst in the nation, new Department of Veterans Affairs data released on Thursday shows.

The next worst wait times are those in Fayetteville, N.C., with 93 days of average wait times.

Wayne Pfeffer, the director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, said on June 16 that he hoped to dramatically reduce the wait time for new patients to just 30 days within three months.

The VA released its bi-monthly data update on Thursday showing what it said was progress on efforts to accelerate access to health care for veterans who have been waiting for appointments.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson announced that outreach had extended to nearly 140,000 veterans across the country to get them off of wait lists and into clinics for medical appointments.

“In many communities across the country, veterans wait too long for the high quality care they’ve earned and deserve,” Gibson said in a release.

Gibson added that as the VA continues “to address systemic challenges in accessing care, these regular data updates enhance transparency and provide the most immediate information to veterans and the public on improvements to veterans’ access to quality health care.”

“We are fully committed to fixing the problems we face in order to better serve veterans,” he said. “We must restore the public’s trust in VA, but more importantly, we must restore the trust of our veterans who depend on us for care.”

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