Kalamazoo Times

Kalamazoo Times

Thursday, November 14, 2019

VA reports increase in number of appointments at VA Ann Arbor HCS health facility in Michigan Center in August

Government

By Local Labs News Service | Oct 17, 2019

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The VA Ann Arbor Health Care System, subsidiary 506GC in Michigan Center, Michigan scheduled 2,226 pending appointments in August compared to 2,086 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 2,203 had a wait time of 30 days or less (99%) and 23 appointments (1%) 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 Ann Arbor 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
506
Ann Arbor, MI
50,774
51,383
-1.2%
506GA
Toledo, OH
21,857
22,047
-0.9%
506GB
Flint, MI
2,963
2,904
2%
506GC
Jackson Center, MI
2,226
2,086
6.7%
506QB
Green Road, MI
2,823
3,067
-8%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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