Recent allegations regarding long waiting lists at Veteran’s Affairs hospitals in places like Phoenix and Houston have prompted internal investigators to conduct audits at VA healthcare centers across the country.
The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain is no exception.
But, officials aren’t concerned. They are confident that they have established a proactive approach to avoid long wait times for patients in need.
Medical Center staff say the use of the approved VA Electronic Wait List to maintain transparency and the establishment of relationships between patients and providers have helped to make the center successful at efficiently providing healthcare services.
“Quite honestly, we don’t have an issue here with wait lists,” Medical Center Director James Rice said. “We try to be really proactive and make sure our veterans aren’t waiting, and I think our providers and staff always go up and beyond. If they have a veteran who needs to be seen immediately, we’ve tried to see that Veteran the same day if we can.”
In addition to educating patients who may end up on the Electronic Wait List about the procedures involved, daily reviews of access to treatment helps to maintain reasonable wait times for those in need.
“We look at all new patients waiting greater than fourteen days and all existing or established patients also waiting greater than fourteen days, and what we do is we review it by clinic, and to see if there’s any outliers, and if we have an outlier, we dig deep in to see if it’s Veteran’s preference, or it might be a lack of a provider, but we try to always stay focused on that so we don’t let Veterans wait a long time,” Rice said.
Audits of VA medical facilities started Monday and are anticipated to be completed within the next two weeks.
Any opportunities for improvement and newly identified best practices will be considered at the Iron Mountain center to help continue providing the best care for veterans.