WESTWOOD (CNS) - Thousands of veterans seeking new appointments at VA hospitals in greater Los Angeles must wait, sometimes more than three months, to see a doctor, a national cable news channel claimed today.
But the VA answered that the reports, discovered by CNN, do not tell the whole story because they do not include veterans who were given same-day or same-week fast-track appointments.
The news stories were being given prominent play this weekend on CNN.
Investigative reporter Drew Griffin said they were based on VA records obtained by CNN and verified by six interviews with unnamed sources.
The VA records show that, as of Jan. 15, there were 1,600 new patients on waiting lists at VA hospitals in the greater L.A. region, including the giant hospital in Westwood. Most of those were delayed 60-90 days, some were delayed more than 90 days, and 600 were delayed six months.
This was despite testimony before Congress last month from a senior VA official from Los Angeles, Dr. Sky MacDougall, who said the average wait time was four days.
CNN reported that 300 vets were on the wait list for their first appointments at mental health clinics, and were waiting an average of 36 days to get their first appointments.
The VA said many of those patients were given same-day appointments, which was not reflected int he records obtained by CNN. That made the report numbers “not representative,” the agency told CNN.