VA reports increase in number of August appointments scheduled at VA Phoenix HCS health facility in Gilbert


The VA Phoenix Health Care System, subsidiary 644BY in Gilbert, Arizona scheduled 26,113 pending appointments in August compared to 21,780 during the same period last year, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments this August, 24,745 had a wait time of 30 days or less (94.8%) and 1,368 appointments (5.2%) 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 or better to 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 1 of 8 priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who do not have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

VA Phoenix Health Care System - 644BY Appointments Scheduled in August 2019 vs. August 2018

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2019
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2018
Percent change in number of appointments
644
Phoenix
74,559
66,570
12%
644BY
Gilbert
26,113
21,780
19.9%
644GA
Surprise
14,893
12,871
15.7%
644GB
Show Low
2,102
1,921
9.4%
644GC
Phoenix
7,006
6,040
16%
644GD
Payson
472
287
64.5%
644GE
Phoenix
5,124
4,035
27%
644GF
Globe
473
414
14.3%
644GG
Scottsdale
3,407
3,008
13.3%
644GH
Phoenix
12,232
10,363
18%
Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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