Local VA hospitals to initiate new policies to manage wait times - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CENTRAL TEXAS

Local VA hospitals to initiate new policies to manage wait times

CENTRAL TEXAS, TX (KXXV) - Acting Secretary of Veteran Affairs Sloan Gibson is taking action. Less than two weeks ago, the nationwide audit of Veteran Affairs Hospitals and Clinics scheduling times was released.

Gibson says the VA's top priority is getting vets off of wait lists and into clinics and hospitals. They hope the new changes will ensure vets get the care they need.

The agency announced today that all VA medical centers and health care system directors will be mandated to conduct monthly in-person reviews of scheduling practices at every clinic in their jurisdiction.

In addition to the monthly reviews from VA directors, the Veteran's Integrated Service Network will perform similar inspections to at least one medical center within their area every 30 days. Those integrated service directors will have to complete visits to all the facilities in their network every 90 days.

Local facilities are taking it a step further by initiating new policies of their own. Those policies include random monthly audits of scheduling practices with follow-up training when necessary, creating a training manual to ensure consistency in scheduling, implementing training requirements for all scheduling clerks and supervisors and annual re-certification training.

The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System Spokeswoman, Deborah Meyer, says they're working hard to increase health care access to veterans whether at a VA, or through the use of collaborations with private hospitals.

"We will continue to look for ways to improve our processes in efforts to increase access for our Veterans, to include consideration of extending clinic hours, decreasing administration time for clinicians, and improving the efficiency of our system where possible," says Meyer.

Congressman Bill Flores says he hopes the new policies send a message to veterans.

"The message this sends to veterans is that overtime I'm that hopeful they will regain confidence in the VA to provide them with quality health care in a quick manner," says Flores.

"This message enforces our commitment to our Veterans that leadership at all levels will devote time and effort to make sure our scheduling practices are above reproach, but more importantly, that we are working diligently to increase health care access to our Veterans, whether at VA or through the use of collaborations with private hospitals," says Meyer.

Flores says while he is glad something is being done, ultimately he hopes directors create a culture at facilities where employees always put veterans first and monthly inspections aren't needed.
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