Report: Wait times for veterans at VA hospitals have tripled

HARTFORD, Con. (WTNH)–A new report appears to show that there are three times as many veterans waiting for medical appointments at Connecticut’s VA facilities than was originally reported.

Nationwide, those numbers have tripled, and so have the numbers here in Connecticut.

State officials had been assured that the long delays for medical appointments reported at VA facilities around the country were not happening at the VA Hospitals in West Haven and Newington or the six community based outpatient clinics around the state but new numbers tell another story.

Numbers just released show that medical appointments for the Connecticut facilities actually tripled in the latest audit. There were 998 in the May audit and the number mysteriously jumping to 2,727 last month.

“The data shows that there have been drastically and dramatically increasing numbers of cases involving substantial delays in health care,” said Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-CT).

Blumenthal notes that what makes this all the more remarkable is that this has happened when the agency has been under increased scrutiny and the subject of adverse news reports. The increasing numbers are causing Blumenthal and others in Washington to ask even more questions.

“Are the present statistics, in fact, honest and accurate? is it due to a shortage of doctors? What are the reasons for these increasing delays? This national trend requires an explanation which, so far, has not been forthcoming,” Blumenthal said.

The Senator is requesting answers to those questions from the V-A in Washington and here in Connecticut.

Even though there are now numbers for the entire state of Connecticut, site specific audits for the Connecticut facilities have still not been released.

In response to a request from News 8 spokesperson Pamela Redmond of the VA in Connecticut said:

“This data represents the number of appointments (not individuals) in excess of the established 30 day metric. VA Connecticut’s performance exceeds many other VA facitilies.”

The statement did not address why those numbers tripled between May and June.

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