VA recently launched an improved Access to Care website. The site offers updated information and a user-friendly, streamlined search process that will make it easier for Veterans to plan their health care visits.
In addition, the website includes more of what Veterans told us matters to them beyond average wait times, such as Veteran satisfaction and experience information. They will also be able to view data for expanded mental health care services and specialities, including Individual and Group Therapy, General Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder programs, Primary Care-Mental Health Integrated Care, and PTSD Specific programs.
VA is planning to include additional specialty care services and more site improvements on Access to Care in the near future.
Average wait times calculations updated
To better reflect the Veteran experience, VA updated the way it calculates average wait times. The new calculation uses averages from recently scheduled appointments—including those that have been completed and those scheduled and yet to occur in the future—and measures wait times in a way that makes more sense to Veterans’ experience.
Prior to this update, the calculation only included recently completed Veteran appointments. This measure applies to VA facilities using VA’s existing electronic health record and scheduling system.
Average wait times represent one general measure of access to care. Another way to measure access is using the Third Next Available Appointment (TNAA). As VA implements its new electronic health record, VA is transitioning to TNAA.
TNAA is a measure of appointment availability that displays the number of days between today’s date and the date of the third-next appointment available in VA’s scheduling system. It is possible a Veteran could be seen sooner depending on their preference and ability to make a first or second available appointment.
TNAA is considered a more accurate measure of elective service availability than the next available appointment or second-next available appointment. Such appointments may become available due to a cancellation or other event that is not predictable or reliable.
Ensuring Veterans have timely access to care
The technology in our new electronic health record system allows us to use this more modern, industry standard measure at these sites.
These updates ensure Veterans will have online access to information and wait times at their local facility and facilities across the country. VA’s commitment to continuous improvement ensures our Veterans receive timely access to world-class care, when and where they need it.
Accesstocare.va.gov has been updated with more information that’s easier to access and understand. It’s a useful tool to help Veterans and their caregivers plan their health care. Veterans now have a more complete picture of appointment wait times at their nearest facility or other medical centers in the VA network. Visit Accesstocare.va.gov, today!