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