The Department of Veterans Affairs is actively taking steps to acknowledge the appointment and access-to-care concerns our Veterans have experienced recently. To start, VA conducted Access Stand Down events in both November 2015 and February 2016. These nationwide stand-downs allowed staff and volunteers the opportunity to focus on one thing – making appointments for Veterans who needed them the most.
Many of these Veterans had been on long waiting lists. After sorting through the files of more than 80,000 Veterans, VA was able to contact 93 percent of those who were in need of urgent care. After prioritizing appointments based on need, VA scheduled new, timelier appointments. Many of those appointments were held on a single day, with VA staff being called in to perform everything from eye to heart surgery.
The number of Veterans in need of less urgent care, such as annual exams, routine checkups and nonmedical matters, was also evaluated. They were each given a priority standing and had appointments rescheduled.
“We know that in order to best serve Veterans, we should be prioritizing those who need care most urgently,” said Dr. David Shulkin, VA Under Secretary for Health.
Improving access to care is a top priority for VA and its employees. As a result, more than 1,400 physicians and 4,100 n
urses, in addition to staff we already have on hand, have been hired to help us provide proper care to our patients. VA has also recently opened up 3.9 million square feet of new facilities, offering more care to those in rural areas as well as large cities with crowded hospitals. We are still growing, still hiring and still expanding our care across the country. That means we still need you.
Through prioritizing, expanding access and increasing staff availability, VA is certain we will end this crisis and provide our Veterans with the care they deserve. We’d like your help delivering on our commitment to providing timely access to care for all Veterans. Help us serve those who’ve served by joining our team of qualified nurses, physicians and myriad other health care workers.