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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

VA reports decrease in number of appointments at VA Central Iowa HCS health facility in Des Moines (636A6) in August

Government

By Local Labs News Service | Oct 17, 2019

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The VA Central Iowa Health Care System, subsidiary 636A6 in Des Moines, Iowa scheduled 22,980 pending appointments in August compared to 23,206 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 20,482 had a wait time of 30 days or less (89.1%) and 2,498 appointments (10.9%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019 reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar to or better than wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA's data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to one of eight priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who don’t have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

VA Central Iowa Health Care System Appointments Scheduled in August vs. July

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Total Appointments Scheduled in July
Percent change in number of appointments
636A6
Des Moines, IA
22,980
23,206
-1%
636BU
Des Moines, IA - VADOM
32
62
-48.4%
636GC
Mason City, IA
2,162
2,114
2.3%
636GD
Marshalltown, IA
529
591
-10.5%
636GK
Fort Dodge, IA
2,129
2,236
-4.8%
636GM
Carroll, IA
545
510
6.9%
636GR
Knoxville, IA
901
1,021
-11.8%
636GX
Fort Dodge North, IA
439
448
-2%
636QB
Des Moines-Center Street, IA
132
123
7.3%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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