Members of Congress are trying not to jump to conclusions about the problems and solutions at the VA. New patients trying to get into the system have to wait – 54 days at Danville, 40 at Jesse Brown, 38 at Marion, 33 at Hines. Yet existing patients could get in in a day or two, according to an audit of the Veterans Administration.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) isn’t sure whether there’s mismanagement or something worse. “Before I jump to conclusions on whether it’s corruption or not, I just wanna say that we have got to absolutely get to the bottom of this. I want to see more information, but it looks bad, and this isn’t just in Illinois. It looks like it’s systemic through the whole process,” he said.
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U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) says the problem shouldn’t be lack of resources, so she’s puzzled as to why these hospitals are making it hard for veterans to get appointments. “If the issue is lack of resources, then we need to make sure veterans get the resources that they need, although the VA does have pre-funding of their medical requirements so they should be getting what they need, and I’m not quite sure what’s going on, so I’m looking forward to reading the report,” she said.
Data from the VA report at the five VA hospitals in Illinois: Jesse Brown (Chicago), Danville, Marion, Hines (Maywood) and Lovell (North Chicago):
New patients who requested appointments in the past decade for whom an appointment had not been scheduled as of June 2: Hines 140, Jesse Brown 64, Danville 122, Marion 494, Lovell 53.
Patients still awaiting medical appointments 90 days or more after requesting them: None listed for Hines, Jesse Brown 1, Danville 19, Marion 3, Lovell 50.
Patients who waited more than 120 days for an appointment: None listed for any of the Illinois sites.
Total appointments scheduled, reflecting caseload: Hines 53,645, Jesse Brown 32,213, Danville 19,150, Marion 27,300, Lovell 10,688.
Average wait times for new patients seeking primary care: Danville 54.08 days, Jesse Brown 40.85, Marion 38.31, Hines 33.20, Lovell 15.46.
Average wait times for established patients seeking primary care: Marion 2.04 days, Lovell 1.66, Danville 1.47, Hines 1.22, Jesse Brown 0.75.
Average wait times for new patients seeking specialist care: Jesse Brown 53.69 days, Danville 52.14, Marion 51.53, Hines 45.95, Lovell 19.59.
Average wait times for established patients seeking specialist care: Lovell 2.58 days, Hines 2.30, Danville 1.80, Marion 1.71, Jesse Brown 0.82.
Average wait times for new patients seeking mental health treatment: Jesse Brown 42.77 days, Danville 35.64, Marion 28.20, Lovell 24.32, Hines 21.22.
Average wait times for established patients seeking mental health treatment: Lovell 2.53 days, Jesse Brown 2.27, Hines 1.5, Danville 1.06, Marion 0.90.