WASHINGTON — About 10 percent of veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals and clinics have to wait at least 30 days for an appointment, more than twice the percentage of veterans the government said last week were forced to endure long waits, the acting Veterans Affairs secretary said Wednesday.
Sloan Gibson said the higher number of veterans waiting 30 days or more is revealed in a report due out today. He called the increase unfortunate, but said it was probably an indication that more reliable data was being reported by VA schedulers, rather than an actual increase in veteran wait times.
"I don't like that we've got more veterans waiting, but at least we're getting better data" as the VA seeks to address widespread problems of long patient waiting times and falsified records to mask frequent long delays, Gibson said.
A report issued June 9 said about 4 percent of 6 million appointments scheduled at VA facilities nationwide showed wait times longer than 30 days. That total jumps to about 10 percent in the new report, he said.
While Gibson said he still is not certain that all wait times listed on VA computers are accurate, "I have vastly greater confidence" in the list than he did in the past.