Dubuque Times

Dubuque Times

Friday, December 13, 2019

VA reports increase in number of appointments at VA Iowa City HCS facilities in August 2019

Government

By Metric Media News Service | Dec 5, 2019

The VA Iowa City Health Care System scheduled 51,436 pending appointments across its 14 locations in August 2019 compared to 42,638 the same month last year, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments in August 2019, 47,124 had a wait time of 30 days or less (91.6%) and 4,312 appointments (8.4%) 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 Iowa City HCS Appointments Scheduled in August 2019 vs. August 2018
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2019
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2018
Percent change in number of appointments
Iowa City
20,727
22,385
-7.4%
Davenport
6,119
2,731
124.1%
Quincy
2,157
1,505
43.3%
Waterloo
2,381
1,824
30.5%
Galesburg
2,186
1,726
26.7%
Dubuque
2,021
1,582
27.7%
Cedar Rapids
3,741
2,905
28.8%
Ottumwa
2,557
2,184
17.1%
Sterling
1,001
740
35.3%
Decorah
881
745
18.3%
Coralville
3,643
3,555
2.5%
Cedar Rapids
89
90
-1.1%
Iowa City
408
172
137.2%
Davenport
247
494
-50%
Source: U.S. Veteran’s Administration

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Organizations in this Story

City of QuincyCity of SterlingCity of GalesburgCity of DubuqueCity of Iowa CityCity of DavenportCity of Cedar RapidsCity of OttumwaCity of DecorahCoralville CityCity of Waterloo

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