The 12 places where veterans are waiting an exceptionally long time to see a doctor

The Department of Veterans Affairs released an internal audit of their medical centers Monday. It revealed that the wait times that led VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign are a systemic problem and that veterans around the country are waiting far longer than they should for care.

The Veterans Affairs medical center at Honolulu showed the worst wait times: A new patient has to wait 144 days on average before seeing a primary care doctor there.


 The Department of Veteran Affairs has come under fire after reports of the deaths of 40 patients forced to wait for medical care at the Phoenix, Ariz., VA hopsital. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

One Hawaii veteran told the Associated Press, "They tell you that when you sign up: 'It will be six months.'"

The report horrified Hawaii's two U.S. senators. Sen. Brian Schatz (D) said in a press statement: “This excessive wait time is unacceptable. It is clear that the VA needs additional resources to match increasing demand for health services.” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D), a member of the Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees, is planning to introduce legislation immediately to help veterans facing a long wait.

The medical center in Baltimore was also high on the waiting times list. A local TV station in Maryland talked to some local vets who said that they had an impossible time getting care at that facility. Vietnam Marine Matko Chullin told 11 News: "I went in for the prep, and they never did the operation. That was in 2005, something like that. Here it is, 2014 -- 10 years later -- and they still haven't done the operation on my stomach."

Here's a map of some of the worst offenders when it comes to longest average wait times to see a primary care physician at a VA care facility.

va-waits

 

Local news coverage was not kind to the centers who came out of the audit looking less than efficient.

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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